Wilburn Boat Co. v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co.,
348 U.S. 310 (1955)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Wilburn Boat Co. v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., 348 U.S. 310 (1955)

Wilburn Boat Co. v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co.

No. 7

Argued October 14-15, 1954

Decided February 28, 1955

348 U.S. 310


Under a policy of marine insurance, the owners of a small houseboat used for commercial carriage of passengers on an inland lake between Texas and Oklahoma sued the insurer to recover for the loss of the boat by fire while moored on the lake. The insurer defended on the ground of alleged breaches of warranties against sale, transfer, assignment, pledge, hire, charter, or use of the boat for commercial purposes without the insurer's written consent. Claiming that the policy had been made and delivered in Texas, the owners urged that the case was controlled by Texas law, under which no breach of the provisions of a fire insurance policy is a defense to any suit unless the breach contributes to the loss.

Held: the case is remanded for trial under appropriate state law. Pp. 348 U. S. 311-321.

(a) Since the insurance policy here sued on is a maritime contract, the Admiralty Clause of the Constitution brings it within federal jurisdiction. Pp. 348 U. S. 313-314.

(b) There is no statutory or judicially established federal admiralty rule governing the warranties here involved. Pp. 348 U. S. 314-316.

(c) This Court declines to establish such a rule. Pp. 348 U. S. 316, 348 U. S. 319-320.

(d) In the absence of such a federal admiralty rule, this case is governed by appropriate state law. Pp. 348 U. S. html#316">348 U. S. 316-319, 348 U. S. 320-321.

201 F.2d 833 reversed and remanded.

Page 348 U. S. 311

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