Howard v. Federal Crop Insurance Corp.

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Howard v. Federal Crop Insurance Corp.
Court U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
Citation 540 F.2d 695 (4th Cir. 1976)
Date decided 1976

Facts

Plaintiff sued the defendant insurance corporation for their 1973 tobacco crop that was lost due to rain damage. The defendant insured plaintiff’s crops, and the plaintiffs harvested and sold their depleted crop and filed a timely notice and proof of loss with defendant. Prior to inspection by the adjuster, the plaintiff either plowed or disked under the tobacco fields to prepare for a sowing of rye to preserve the soil. The insurance contract states “the tobacco stalks shall not be destroyed until the Corporation makes an inspection.” Thus the defendant refuses to fulfill the policy because they claim that there is a condition precedent to them inspecting the loss.


Procedural History

District court granted summary judgment for the defendant and dismissed all three actions.


Issues

Whether the insurance policy stated a condition precedent that would forfeit recovery or was instead a promise.


Holding/Decision

Judgment vacated and remanded.


Reasoning

Plowing or disking under the stalk does not of itself operate to forfeit coverage under the policy because the paragraph did not establish a condition precedent.