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Contracts Keyed to Burton
Gruenberg v. Aetna Insurance Co.
Citation:9 Cal. 3d 566, 108 Cal. Rptr. 480, 510 P.2d 1032
Gruenberg (plaintiff) owned a cocktail lounge and restaurant business in Los Angeles known as the Brass Rail. The Brass Rail premises was insured against fire loss in the sum of $35,000 by three insurers: Aetna Insurance Company, Yosemite Insurance Company, and American Home Insurance Company (hereinafter “Aetna et al.”) (defendants). A fire later broke out at the Brass Rail. The next day, a claims adjustor went to the Brass Rail to investigate and inspect the premises. The claims adjustor believed that Gruenberg had excessive insurance for the premises and foul play was expected on his (Gruenberg’s) part. Gruenberg was charged with the crimes of arson and defrauding an insurer. Aetna et al.’s attorney demanded Gruenberg appear at an examination to be taken under oath about Gruenberg’s claim of fire loss. The attorney warned Gruenberg that a failure to appear would void his insurance coverage. Gruenberg did not appear, having requested that the examination be waived until the criminal charges were concluded. Gruenberg’s criminal charges were dismissed for lack of probable cause, but his insurance coverage voided. Gruenberg sued Aetna et al.
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