Ferguson v. Phoenix Assurance
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|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.
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