Lansa Fruit Co. v. Universal Ins. Co.
302 U.S. 556 (1938)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Lansa Fruit Co. v. Universal Ins. Co., 302 U.S. 556 (1938)

Lansa Fruit Steamship & Importing Co. v. Universal Insurance Co.

No. 57

Argued December 10, 1937

Decided January 10, 1938

302 U.S. 556

Syllabus

1. In deciding this case concerning the liability of an insurer for loss of a cargo of fruit, both courts below assumed that the fruit was in sound condition when shipped, and would have been merchantable at the end of the voyage had it not been for the stranding of the ship and consequent delay. Held that this Court, in reviewing the question decided, will make the same assumptions. P. 302 U. S. 559.

2. Application of a general coverage clause of a marine insurance policy held unaffected by a rider attached for an additional premium, after the policy had been long in effect but cancelled before the occurrence of the loss. P. 302 U. S. 560.

The rider covered losses not embraced in the marine perils against which the policy insured, and it also covered losses which were already covered by the policy, and there was room for difference of opinion as to exactly how far the rider overlapped.

3. Stranding of the ship is a peril of the sea. P. 302 U. S. 561.

4. The doctrine of proximate cause is applied strictly in marine insurance cases. P. 302 U. S. 562.

5. A vessel carrying a cargo of bananas stranded en voyage. The stranding caused delay, with the result that the fruit, which was sound when shipped, and, but for the delay, would have been

Page 302 U. S. 557

marketable upon arrival at destination, was spoiled by decay -- a total loss. Held that the stranding was the proximate cause of the loss, and that the loss was covered by insurance against perils of the sea. P. 302 U. S. 562.

6. In marine insurance cases, the proximate cause of loss is the efficient cause, not necessarily that cause, in a chain or series, which was nearest in time to the event. P. 302 U. S. 562.

89 F.2d 545 reversed.

Certiorari, post, p. 664, to review the affirmance of a judgment in favor of the respondent Insurance Company in an action on a policy of marine insurance. The case had been removed to the District Court from the Court of Common Pleas of Baltimore City.

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