Ferguson v. Phoenix Assurance

From wikilawschool.net. Wiki Law School does not provide legal advice. For educational purposes only.
Ferguson v. Phoenix Assurance
Court Kansas Supreme Court
Citation 370 P.2d 379
Date decided April 7, 1962


  • Mr. Ferguson = owner of a drug store = insured owner = "Ferguson" = plaintiff
  • Phoenix Assurance Company of New York = "Phoenix" = defendant = insurance company
  • Thieves broke & entered (B&E) into the Ferguson drug store. The thieves damaged the store to the tune of about $70. They also stole $32 of medication narcotics & $433 from the safe.
When Ferguson filed an insurance claim, Ferguson denied coverage for the safe for $433.

Procedural History

Ferguson sued Phoenix.

Ferguson won in the trial court in Kansas.


Does a rule of evidence in an insurance policy, beyond that necessary to prevent fraud, violate public policy, rendering the rule un-enforceable?


Phoenix argued that the thieves left no evidence of force or violence on the outer door of the safe to steal the $433. As a result, Phoenix argued that Ferguson could not be reimbursed for the $433 based on Phoenix's Rules of Evidence for an insurance claim.


Yes. A rule of evidence, imposed in an insurance policy, going beyond that reasonably necessary to prevent fraud violates public policy & is not enforceable.


"Mere evidentiary condition beyond reasonable standard to prevent fraudulent claim is against public policy if it prohibits insurance payment where there’s other evidence of break-in." Contracts Ayres/9th ed. Outline