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Contracts Keyed to Summers
Howard v. Federal Crop Ins. Corp.
Citation:540 F.2d 695
The Howards (plaintiffs) grew tobacco on their six farms. The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (“FCIC”) (defendant) insured the Howards’ tobacco crops against weather damage. The Howards’ 1973 tobacco crop was extensively damaged by heavy rains. The Howards filed a timely insurance claim. They also plowed under the tobacco fields to preserve the soil and prepare for a new tobacco crop. The FCIC adjuster found that the Howards violated a portion of their policy that provided that the tobacco stalks could not be destroyed until the FCIC made an inspection. Specifically, subparagraph 5(b) of the policy stated that: “[i]t shall be a condition precedent to the payment of any loss that the insured establish the production of the insured crop[.]” Meanwhile, subparagraph 5(f) of the same policy stated that: “[t]he tobacco stalks on any acreage of tobacco…shall not be destroyed until the Corporation makes an inspection.” The Howards sued the FCIC to recover for their losses. The trial court found that the Howards, in plowing under the tobacco field, violated a condition precedent of their policy that forfeited their recovery. The Howards appealed, arguing that the although the term “condition precedent” appeared in subparagraph 5(b), the term did not appear in subparagraph 5(f).
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