his return to practice, the company's responsibility as to that accident under this portion of the policy was also terminated.
The words "continuously" and "wholly" modify "disabled" and they constitute a condition precedent that must be met if the plaintiff is to recover. Without question, Dr. Payne was wholly and continuously disabled for six months from the day of the accident. Also it is agreed, at least for purposes of this motion, that Dr. Payne had been wholly disabled since January 1, 1969. But has he been continuously disabled? Obviously, the question is "continuously" from what point.
If the total disability clause contained only the words "wholly disabled" there would be no dispute because there is no other limitation on the number of times a beneficiary is entitled to payments for total disability from any one accident. The clause, however, does contain the word "continuously" and it cannot be treated as mere surplusage.
If, as the plaintiff contends, "continuously" means an uninterrupted time span measured from the beginning of each new period of total disability, the word "continuously" adds no meaning to the contract; the same result would have been achieved by using the term "wholly disabled." In effect, plaintiff is suggesting we ignore a word found in the contract, a word of plain import which conveys a perfectly clear idea. I conclude that "continuously" was placed in the policy to limit the defendant's liability to one uninterrupted period of total disability, no matter how long after the accident the disability started.
As applied to disability insurance contracts, this interpretation of continuously is overwhelmingly supported by the reported cases. See Grau v. Travelers Ins. Co., 303 Ill. App. 212, 24 N.E. 2d 882, 884 (1940); Bouvier v. Craftsman Ins. Co., 300 Mass. 5, 13 N.E. 2d 619, 623 (Mass. 1938); Hasson v. Mutual Beneficial Health & Accident Ass'n., 309 Mich. 331, 15 N.W. 2d 659, 660 (1944); Friedman v. National Cas. Co., 132 N.J.L. 470, 41 A.2d 128, 129 (1945); Jacobson v. Mutual Beneficial Health & Accident Ass'n., 70 N.D. 566, 296 N.W. 545, 553 (1941); Yeager v. Pacific Mutual Life Ins. Co., 166 Ohio St. 71, 139 N.E. 2d 48, 54 (1956); Spicer v. Commercial Mutual Accident Co., 16 Pa. C.C. 163, 4 Dauph. 283, 4 Pa. Dist. 271, 275-276 (1894); 1A J. Appleman, Insurance Law and Practice § 631, at 510 (1965); 15 G. Couch, Cyclopedia of Insurance Law §§ 53:71; 53:95; 53:97 (2d ed. R. Anderson ed. 1966). Cf. Johnson v. Travelers Ins. Co., 269 N.Y. 401, 199 N.E. 637, 639-640 (N.Y. 1936).
The plaintiff attempts to distinguish many of these cases on the ground that the insurance contract provided that the insured must be wholly and continuously disabled from the date of the accident or within a specified time. These time limitations do not, however, diminish the courts' reasoning that subsequent periods of total disability are not covered because of the use of the word "continuously" in the policies.
Hasson v. Mutual Beneficial Health & Accident Ass'n., supra, aptly illustrates my interpretation. In Hasson, the plaintiff was injured and unable to work for six months. He collected total disability payment under a contract similar to the one before me. He returned to work for nine months, then suddenly stopped work, claiming he was totally disabled. In denying recovery the court stated, "The element of time must be marked by continuity. The continuity ceased when the injured went back to work for nine months." Similarly, when Dr. Payne resumed his private practice and teaching his original period of total disability ended. Whether the total disability existed, before, after, or when he retired in January, 1969, is irrelevant. The fact is that there was an interruption between the periods of total disability. The plaintiff was not continuously and totally disabled and his second claim under the contract must fail. G. Couch, Cyclopedia of Insurance Law, supra at § 53:375.
It is true that irregular employment, a trial effort or work for therapeutic purposes would not bar the plaintiff from recovering: Reardon v. Travelers Ins. Co., 166 Pa. Super. 365, 368, 71 A.2d 829 (1949); Kramer v. Travelers Ins. Co., 111 Pa. Super 367, 371, 170 A. 700 (1934); see Morgan v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 157 F.2d 527, 529 (7th Cir. 1946). In Dr. Payne's case, however, he worked steadily six days a week for over four years. Certainly this cannot be considered a trial effort; rather it was a sustained period of employment that clearly ended the first period of plaintiff's total disability and, therefore, his right to recover under future total disability payments under the contract.
In conclusion, I find the plaintiff has not remained wholly and continuously disabled since December 23, 1963, when he was first disabled, and therefore grant summary judgment for the defendant.