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Opinion of the Court.
But even under the rule invoked by opposing counsel, the demurrers to the third counts should have been overruled. Those counts alleged that the intervening accidental means or cause was the condition, unknown to the insured, which, for the time being, rendered him supersensitive to the heat of the sun. This makes a case under the sound rule that a voluntary act is an accidental act if performed under conditions which, if known, would have deterred from performance.
If one in sound health receives an accidental blow which produces a disease followed by death, that death has resulted, independently of all other causes, from an accidental blow (Ryan v. Continental Casualty Co., 47 F. (2d) 474; Order of United, etc. v. Edwards, 52 F. (2d) 187; Lower v. Metropolitan Ins. Co., 111 N.J.L. 426.)
But sunstroke should not be held to be a disease. It does not have that meaning in the popular mind. Richards v. Standard Accident Ins. Co., 58 Utah 622; Lower v. Metropolitan Ins. Co., 111 N.J.L. 426.
Mr. Vaughn Miller for Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Co., respondent.
Mr. J. F. Finlay for Travelers Insurance Co., respondent.
MR. JUSTICE STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case comes here on certiorari to review a judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 65 F. (2d) 232, which affirmed a judgment of the district court, denying recovery on two policies of accident insurance. Separate suits brought by petitioner, the beneficiary of the policies under which her deceased husband was the insured, were consolidated and were heard and decided on demurrer. The insured, while playing golf, suffered a sunstroke, from which he died. Petitioner sought recov
Opinion of the Court.
ery of amounts stipulated, in one policy, to be paid if death should result
directly and independently of all other causes from bodily injuries effected through external, violent and accidental means, and not directly or indirectly, wholly or partly from disease or physical or mental infirmity,” and, in the other policy, if death should result
from bodily injuries effected directly and independently of all other causes through external, violent and accidental means."
Both declarations, in each of four counts, alleged that the deceased in the month of August, while in good health and while playing golf in his accustomed manner at a place where many others were playing without injury, was suddenly and unexpectedly overcome from the force of the sun's rays upon his head and body and that shortly afterward he died; that an autopsy revealed that there was no bodily infirmity or disease which could have been a contributing cause of his death. In one count of each declaration it was alleged that at the time the insured received the injury resulting in his death there was, unknown to him, a temporary disorder or condition of his body, not amounting to a physical or mental infirmity within the meaning of the policies, which, for the time being, rendered him more than ordinarily sensitive to the heat of the sun and that this temporary and unknown condition“ intervened between his intentional act of playing golf, which he intended and expected to perform safely and which others did perform safely at the same time and place, and the injury which followed.”
Petitioner argues that the death, resulting from voluntary exposure to the sun's rays under normal conditions, was accidental in the common or popular sense of the term and should therefore be held to be within the liability clauses of the policies. But it is not enough, to establish liability under these clauses, that the death or injury
was accidental in the understanding of the average manthat the result of the exposure “was something unforeseen, unsuspected, extraordinary, an unlooked for mishap, and so an accident," see Lewis v. Ocean Accident & G. Corp., 224 N.Y. 18, 21; 120 N.E. 56; see also Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Portland Gas & Coke Co., 229 Fed. 552—for here the carefully chosen words defining liability distinguish between the result and the external means which produces it. The insurance is not against an accidental result. The stipulated payments are to be made only if the bodily injury, though unforeseen, is effected by means which are external and accidental. The external means is stated to be the rays of the sun, to which the insured voluntarily exposed himself. Petitioner's pleadings do not suggest that there was anything in the sun's rays, the weather or other circumstances, external to the insured's own body and operating to produce the unanticipated injury, which was unknown or unforeseen by the insured.
We do not intimate that injuries resulting from as impalpable a cause as the inadvertent introduction into the body of noxious germs may not be deemed to be effected by external accidental means. See Western Commercial Travelers Assn. v. Smith, 85 Fed. 401; Jensma v. Sun Life Assur. Co., 64 F. (2d) 457. Nor do we say that in other circumstances an unforeseen and hence accidental result may not give rise to the inference that the external means was also accidental. Compare Jensma v. Sun Life Assur. Co., supra; Gustafson v. New York Life Ins. Co., 55 F. (2d) 235. But, in the light of such knowledge as we have, no such inference can arise from the bare allegation of death by sunstroke, compare Pope v. Prudential Ins. Co., 29 F. (20) 185; Ryan v. Continental Casualty Co., 47 F. (20) 472, with no indication that some unforeseen or unintended condition or combination of circumstances, external to the state of the victim's body, contributed to the
Opinion of the Court.
accidental result. The petitioner has thus failed to plead facts establishing the liability defined by the policy.
In U.S. Mutual Accident Assn. v. Barry, 131 U.S. 100, the insured suffered an internal injury caused by his jumping voluntarily from a platform to the ground, a distance of four or five feet. Recovery was allowed of amounts stipulated by the policy to be paid upon proof of bodily injury "effected through external violent and accidental means." There was evidence from which the jury might have inferred that the insured alighted in a manner not intended, causing a jar or shock of unexpected severity. This Court held that the trial judge correctly left to the jury the question whether the insured jumped or alighted in the manner he intended and properly charged that, if he did not, it might find that the injury was caused by accidental means, pp. 109, 110, 121.
This distinction between accidental external means and accidental result has been generally recognized and applied where the stipulated liability is for injury resulting from an accidental external means. See Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Brand, 265 Fed. 6; Lincoln National Ins. Co. v. Erickson, 42 F. (2d) 997; Jensma v. Sun Life Assur. Co., supra; Order of United Commercial Travelers v. Shane, 64 F. (2d) 55; contra, Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Dodge, 11 F. (2d) 486. And injury from sunstroke, when resulting from voluntary exposure by an insured to the sun's rays, even though an accident, see Ismay, Imrie & Co. v. Williamson (1908] A. C. 437, has been generally held not to have been caused by external accidental means. Nickman v. New York Life Ins. Co., 39 F. (20) 763; Paist v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 54 F. (20) 393; Harloe v. California State Life Ins. Co., 206 Cal. 141; 273 Pac. 560; Continental Casualty Co. v. Pittman, 145 Ga. 641; 89 S.E. 716; Semancik v. Continental Casualty Co., 56 Pa. Super. Ct. 392; see Elsey v. Fidelity & Casualty Co., 187 Ind. 447;
CARDOZO, J., dissenting.
120 N.E. 42; Richards v. Standard Accident Ins. Co., 58 Utah 622; 200 Pac. 1017; contra, Continental Casualty Co. v. Bruden, 178 Ark. 683; 11 S.W. (2d) 493; Lower v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 111 N.J.L. 426; 168 Atl. 592.
MR. JUSTICE CARDOZO, dissenting.
1. A cause does not cease to be violent and external because the insured has an idiosyncratic condition of mind or body predisposing him to injury. Silverstein v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 254 N.Y. 81; 171 N.E. 914; Leland v. Order of U. C. Travelers, 233 Mass. 558, 564; 124 N.E. 517; Collins v. Casualty Co., 224 Mass. 327; 112 N.E. 634; Taylor v. N.Y. Life Ins. Co., 176 Minn. 171; 222 N.W.912. Under a policy phrased as this one, the insurer may be relieved of liability if the predisposing condition is so acute as to constitute a disease. See cases supra.
. Here the complaint alleges that the idiosyncrasy was not a physical or mental disease, and that it appeared from an autopsy that there was no bodily infirmity or disease which could have been a contributing cause of death. Since the case is here on demurrer, those allegations must be accepted as true. The plaintiff may be unable to prove them at the trial. She should have the opportunity. There has been no failure to“ plead facts establishing the liability defined by the policy.”
2. Sunstroke, though it may be a disease according to the classification of physicians, is none the less an accident in the common speech of men. Ismay, Imrie & Co. v. Williamson,  A.C. 437, 439. Lane v. Horn & H. Baking Co., 261 Pa. 329; 104 Atl. 615. The suddenness of its approach and its catastrophic nature (Connally v. Hunt Furniture Co., 240 N.Y. 83, 87; 147 N.E. 366) have made that quality stand out when thought is uninstructed in the mysteries of science. Lower v. Metropolitan Life