Merchants' Ins. Co. v. Allen
121 U.S. 67 (1887)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Merchants' Ins. Co. v. Allen, 121 U.S. 67 (1887)

Merchants' Insurance Company v. Allen

Argued March 17-18, 1887

Decided March 28, 1887

121 U.S. 67

Syllabus

While a vessel was in transit on a voyage from Liverpool to New Orleans, its home port, a policy was taken out "to navigate the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and America, and to be covered in port and at sea," these words being written in the printed blank, and the insurers knowing the home port of the vessel. The policy also contained in print the words "Warranted by the assured not to use port or ports in Eastern Mexico, Texas, nor Yucatan, nor anchorage thereof during the continuance of this insurance." The vessel completed the voyage to New Orleans, went thence to Ship Island for a return cargo to Liverpool, and was lost from peril of the sea in the Gulf of Mexico on the way from Ship Island to Liverpool. Held that there was no conflict between the written and the printed parts of the policy; that the insurers contemplated that the vessel would navigate the Gulf of Mexico, except the designated ports, and that the policy covered the vessel at the time of the loss.

The ultimate disputed fact to be established in a suit in admiralty upon a marine policy of insurance being the seaworthiness or unseaworthiness of the vessel, it was no error in the circuit court at the trial to refuse to find the evidence from which this ultimate fact was deduced.

The court discountenances attempts by counsel in preparing bills of exception in admiralty causes to have the cause retried here on the evidence.

An overinsurance of cargo is not a breach of warranty by the owner of the vessel not to insure his interest in the vessel beyond a stipulated amount, and the overinsurance in this case, if any, does not tend to establish fraud in the loss of the vessel.

Whether, since the Act of February 16, 1875, new testimony can be taken after an appeal in admiralty to this Court, or amendments to the pleadings allowed, is not decided.

These were appeals from decrees in admiralty. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 121 U. S. 68

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