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WILLIAM C. HOHN v. NATIONWIDE INSURANCE COMPANIES (11/19/82)

filed: November 19, 1982.

WILLIAM C. HOHN, AN INDIVIDUAL
v.
NATIONWIDE INSURANCE COMPANIES, APPELLANT



No. 651 Pittsburgh, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. 9673 of 1979

COUNSEL

Michael J. Kearney, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Michael B. Kaleugher, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Price, Brosky and Montemuro, JJ. Montemuro, J., concurs in result.

Author: Brosky

[ 311 Pa. Super. Page 228]

This appeal follows a lower court finding that a disability insurance policy issued by appellant covered an injury suffered by appellee. Appellee, Mr. Hohn, accidentally incurred an injury to his right eye while working in his yard. He sought benefits from appellant which denied his claim saying that his injury was not compensable under the terms of the insurance policy which defines "loss" of an eye as "entire and irrevocable loss of sight." A non-jury verdict

[ 311 Pa. Super. Page 229]

    was rendered, exceptions were denied and this appeal followed. The sole issue for our determination is whether the injury was covered by the policy. Finding that appellee's loss is the "entire and irrevocable" one covered by the policy, we affirm.*fn1

Mr. Hohn's injury occurred when a shovel he was using broke, striking the eyeglasses he was wearing. The shattered glass entered and injured his right eye.

Appellant denied the claim made by appellee and argues that its denial was justified because Mr. Hohn's loss of sight was not entire and irrevocable. The company refers us to vision tests that indicate that without corrective lenses, Mr. Hohn has retained approximately one percent of his central visual efficiency. Thus, the argument goes, the loss was not entire. In any case, appellant contends that the loss could be recovered through the use of a contact lens.

Appellant urges us to find that the term "entire and irrevocable" is unambiguous and deserving of literal application. That is, appellant argues that the retention of one percent visual efficiency precludes us from finding appellee's loss to have been entire.

We believe, however, that case law illustrates that the term requires interpretation. The loss must be both entire and irrevocable. We will first determine ...


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