Columbia Horse & Mule Commission Co. v. American Ins. Co.
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
173 F.2d 773 (1949)
John Dodd (plaintiff) sued American Ins. Co. (American) (defendant) for damages under an insurance policy for losses that occurred during a fire in Dodd’s rental barns. Dodd alleged that 43 mules were destroyed, but witnesses at trial testified that only 34 mules were lost. The parties’ attorneys agreed to submit a number of questions to the jury for a special verdict. In particular, the jurors were asked whether Dodd set the fire in order to make a fraudulent insurance claim and how many mules were lost in the fire. The jury determined that Dodd did not set the fire, but that only 34 mules were lost. The judge determined that Dodd’s claim for 43 mules constituted “willful and material representation and a false swearing in,” which voided the insurance policy. The court dismissed Dodd’s claim. Dodd appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on the ground that the jury should have properly determined whether Dodd made “willfully false and fraudulent” statements.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Allen, J.)