Nelson Marketing International v. Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance

In Marine Insurance on (Updated )

The issue in this appeal was whether the Master had correctly set aside a jury notice. The underlying facts were that a cargo of wooden flooring carried from Malaysia to Long Beach, California was damaged. The cargo was insured by the Plaintiff with the Defendant but the Defendant denied coverage on various grounds. At first instance the Master set aside the jury notice served by the Plaintiff on the grounds that the principal issues in the case were ones of construction of the terms of the insurance policy, a matter not within the purview of a jury. The Plaintiff appealed arguing that there were many factual issues that were within the purview of a jury and that the Master had misconstrued the case. The appeal Judge held, however, that the Master was correct in his analysis, holding that the proper test was whether the construction issues would remain once the factual issues were resolved. If so, the principal issues are ones of construction and the matter should be heard by judge alone.