In the spring of 2006, Wade Drover and his wife Kerri went on a
family vacation to Florida bringing their four children and
Wade's parents Clement and Eileen. Drover had offered to pay
for the flight, lodging, and all other expenses for his parents
during the trip, so they could assist with the children during the
Drover rented a mini-van from the airport. Shortly after the
family left the airport, Florida resident Michael Smith rear-ended
the mini-van. All members of the Drover family were hurt in the
Mr. Smith admitted liability for the crash and his insurer paid
out the policy limits under Mr. Smith's insurance contract to
the Drover family. However, this did not pay for all of the Drover
As part of his automobile insurance policy, Drover had bought
the Family Protection Endorsement (SEF 44) from his insurer to pay
for bodily injury claims should any dependent family member be hurt
in a motor vehicle accident and the other driver is inadequately
Drover's insurer, Scottish & York Insurance Co.
("Scottish"), accepted that he, his wife and their
children were eligible claimants under the SEF 44 policy. Scottish
denied that Drover's parents, Clement and Eileen, were
eligible. Scottish applied to the Court to dismiss Clement and
The Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court refused
Scottish's request to dismiss Clement and Eileen's claim.
For Drover's parents to qualify under the policy they had to be
"dependents". The Court ruled that, generally speaking,
Clement and Eileen were not dependent relatives of their son prior
to the Florida vacation; they lived in their own house and were
financially independent. During the trip, however, Drover's
parents were dependents; he paid for all of their expenses and
arranged for their lodging, transportation and activities.
Scottish appealed. The Court of Appeal upheld the original
ruling, stating that Clement and Eileen could be understood as
being "dependents" during the trip because Drover had
agreed to take care of their expenses and arrangements. Where a
term in the Scottish insurance contract, like the word
"dependent" is vague or ambiguous the Court of Appeal
found that it must be interpreted in favour of the person claiming
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