How have the words “fire, storm and tempest” and “unavoidable accidents” been interpreted in a contract?

Saskatchewan, Canada

The following excerpt is from Roberts v. McMannis, 1933 CanLII 225 (SK QB):

Ordinarily, the words “or other casualty,” following after the words “fire, storm and tempest,” would be subject to the rule of ejusdem generis, but it appears to me that it is impossible to apply this rule in this instance, because the preceding words are each sui generis. Thus storm and tempest may vary in intensity, and in the effects which they produce, but as words they have only one definite meaning; and similarly, “fire” is a word which means only one thing; and therefore to say that the word “casualty” is restricted in its meaning to a casualty of the same nature as “fire, storm, and tempest” would, in my opinion, be a mistake, because any other casualty must of necessity arise from some cause entirely different and distinct from any of them. The words “other casualty” in the section, in my opinion, mean any unforeseen and “unavoidable accidents” used in the contract there under con which could have been avoided. I may refer in this connection to the decision of Fry, J. in Saner v. Bilton (-1878) 7 Ch. D. 815, 47 L.J. Ch. 267, in which referring to the words “unavoidable accidents” used in the contract, there under consideration, he says: I think that the words do not apply to anything arising from the acts or default of either of the contracting parties.

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