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CATHERINE MARSH v. HOME INSURANCE COMPANY

MARCH 12, 1986

CATHERINE MARSH
v.
HOME INSURANCE COMPANY



EN BANC

DAN M. LEE, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Catherine Marsh brought suit against Home Insurance Company in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi, seeking to recover benefits under a policy issued to the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association. At the close of Marsh's case, Home Insurance Company moved for a directed verdict in its favor. The trial court granted that motion. Marsh appeals and asserts that such was error.

The rule which governs directed verdicts in cases tried before a jury is well established. In the recent case of Pittman v. Home Indemnity Co., 411 So.2d 87 (Miss. 1982), we stated:

 In a motion for a directed verdict, and on a request for peremptory instruction the court considers evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, disregards any evidence on the part of the defendant

 in conflict with that favorable to the plaintiff, and, if the evidence and reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom would support a verdict for plaintiff, the motion for a directed verdict should be overruled and the request for a peremptory instruction should be denied.

 Id. at 89. See also, White v. Hancock Bank, 477 So.2d 265, 268-269 (Miss. 1985); City of Jackson v. Locklar, 431 So.2d 475, 478 (Miss. 1983); Paymaster Oil Mill Co. v. Mitchell, 319 So.2d 652, 657 (Miss. 1975). The rationale for this rule was well put in the case of Mobile and O. R. Co. v. Cox, 153 Miss. 597, 121 So. 292 (1929):

 Fact-finding, which includes all material inferences and deductions which may be reasonably and logically drawn from the relevant direct facts, is a province which belongs to the jury, to be exercised by them according to the everyday experience and common observation of the twelve . . . constituting the jury - not by any one . . . judge or juror.

 Id. at 598-599, 121 So. at 292.

 In the instant case, Mrs. Marsh was able to establish the following facts.

 Thomas Marsh, the husband of Catherine Marsh, was employed by Southeastern Pizza Huts, Inc. as manager of the Pizza Hut located near I-220 and Clinton Boulevard. Home Insurance Company issued a policy on employees of the Pizza Hut Corporation which included an endorsement stating, in toto:

 The hazards against which insurance is provided a Covered Person, under this Policy, are: injuries sustained by such person as the result of a criminal act of violence during the course of: (1) robbery or an attempted robbery of a member franchise store; or (2) robbery, theft, hijacking, holdup, larceny, sniping, murder or civil disturbance while traveling on the business of the member franchise store or Policyholder.

 On Wednesday, October 13, 1982, Catherine Marsh underwent surgery in a Jackson hospital. Thomas Marsh stayed with his wife both on Wednesday and Thursday nights following

 her surgery. At noon on Friday, October 15, 1982, while Thomas Marsh was preparing to depart his wife's hospital room, she requested that he bring her certain items, including a" home cooked "hamburger, when he returned. As Marsh left, he told his wife he would see her later.

 Thomas Marsh went to work at the Pizza Hut that evening. He went over reports for the previous week and prepared a bank deposit which, pursuant to company policy was to be made by 9:00 o'clock p.m. Marsh told an assistant he (Marsh) would make the deposit of the Pizza Hut's money. Marsh was also required to keep ...


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