From Judge Glasser's denial of the former motion and grant of the latter, Affiliated appeals. 10(d) of the policy to cover "the value blank plus the cost of transcription" is limited to providing Entron with the value of the blank media (e.g., light sensitive paper, vellum, or mylar) plus the reasonable cost of copying onto that blank media from a pre-existing copy or original of the drawing. "When members of the public purchase policies of insurance they are entitled to the broad measure of protection necessary to fulfill their reasonable expectations. Instead, we are instructed by the New Jersey courts to interpret the policy in view of "what we conceive to be the reasonable expectations of the average purchaser in the light of the contract language." Id. 10(d) does limit Affiliated's responsibility to the "cost of transcription", the policy does not clearly spell out the meaning of this phrase and thus leaves the boundaries of coverage open for interpretation.
Entron contends that the trial court correctly held that the term "cost of transcription" includes any research necessary to make usable copies of drawings that were missing information because of the water damage. 511, 193 A.2d 217, 225 (1963), they have, nevertheless, extended considerable protection to the insured in interpreting the provisions of insurance policies. They should not be subjected to technical encumbrances or to hidden pitfalls * * *." Kievit v. Section 8 of the policy provides that "[e]xcept as hereinafter excluded this Policy insures against all risks of direct physical loss of or damage to the property insured." This broad language reasonably supports Entron's expectation that the policy would cover the full cost of replacing the engineering drawings, including research necessary to fill in missing information. 10(d) were to control, the policy would provide no meaningful coverage for engineering drawings that were severely damaged.
Finally, New Jersey law places the burden on the insurer to carefully and precisely define the limits of its coverage. In contract cases, if damages are liquidated, New Jersey permits the court to award prejudgment interest in accordance with principles of equity.
"[I]n evaluating the insurer's claim as to the meaning of the language under study, courts necessarily consider whether alternative or more precise language, if used, would have put the matter beyond reasonable question * * *." Mazzilli, 170 A.2d at 803. We turn, then, to the New Jersey cases that have considered the availability of prejudgment interest.
Such an interpretation would create exactly the type of "hidden pitfall" that an insured should be protected against. Confusion arises, however, over the treatment by New Jersey courts of contract claims where damages are unliquidated.
As the New Jersey Supreme Court has pointed out, "Where particular provisions, if read literally, would largely nullify the insurance, they will be severely restricted so as to enable fair fulfillment of the stated policy objective." Kievit, 170 A.2d at 26. 10(d) would not nullify every aspect of this comprehensive insurance policy, it would largely nullify any meaningful protection for one of Entron's valuable assets--its engineering drawings. Affiliated relies on a series of intermediate New Jersey court decisions that seem automatically to deny prejudgment interest in contract actions whenever damages are unliquidated.
Of those, some could simply be redrawn by hand from the originals; in other cases, however, redrawing could not proceed until information missing from the drawings because of the water damage had been replaced by engineering research. From the foregoing we interpret New Jersey case law to permit prejudgment interest on unliquidated contract claims where the trial court in its discretion determines that it is warranted by considerations of justice and fair dealing. Div.1983), in which the intermediate court refused to allow prejudgment interest.
A small number of drawings were so badly damaged that they required redrawing. Div.1957), ("The test in a case of this kind, where the amount due is not a liquidated debt but where defendant's attitude toward payment of the obligation was substantially unwarranted, is to be found in 'considerations of justice and fair dealing.' ").
The detailed inventory classified approximately 20,000 drawings according to the degree of damage they had sustained.Contending that 0,045 of the award had been improperly allocated for engineering research, Affiliated moved to reduce the judgment by that amount. 10(d) clearly and unambiguously means the cost of copying and that the court cannot interpret it to include the cost of engineering research necessary to replace missing information. Entron moved to amend the judgment to include 6,408.60 in prejudgment interest. Thus, "[w]herever possible the phraseology must be liberally construed in favor of the insured; if doubtful, uncertain, or ambiguous, or reasonably susceptible of two interpretations, the construction conferring coverage is to be adopted." Hunt v. However, we should not "dwell at any length upon the semantical approach." Linden Motor Freight Co., 193 A.2d at 224. Affiliated further argues that it offers customers more comprehensive insurance coverages, such as its Valuable Papers and Records endorsement, that are designed to provide the kinds of protection Entron claims here, and it contends that the availability of such coverages under other policies precludes coverage of engineering research under the policy at issue. First, it does not follow that simply because one type of insurance policy reimburses for certain losses, another type of insurance policy necessarily excludes such losses. Second, Entron's expectations under the policy it purchased cannot be determined from coverages offered in other policies if their availability was not made known to Entron, and no evidence presented at trial suggests that Entron actually had or should have had knowledge of such other policies.