103 U.S. 222 (1881), Relfe v. Rundle

Citation:103 U.S. 222, 26 L.Ed. 337
Party Name:RELFE v. RUNDLE.
Case Date:January 24, 1881
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 222

103 U.S. 222 (1881)

26 L.Ed. 337




United States Supreme Court.

January 24, 1881


APPEAL from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Louisiana.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.


Mr. James Carr and Mr. George D. Reynolds for the appellant.

Mr. Armand Pitot for the appellee.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE delivered the opinion of the court.

The Life Association of America was, on the 5th of November, 1879, a corporation of the State of Missouri, for the purpose of doing a kife insurance business, with its chief office at St. Louis, in that State. By the laws of doing a life insurance business, of the insurance department of the State government might, under certain circumstances, institute proceedings in the courts of the State for the dissolution of such a corporation and the winding up of its affairs. Sect. 6043 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri is as follows:----

'Upon the rendition of a final judgment dissolving a company, or declaring it insolvent, all the assets of such company shall vest in fee-simple and absolutely in the superintendent of the insurance department of this State, and his successor or successors in office, who shall hold and dispose of the same for the use and benefit of the creditors and policy-holders of such company, and such other persons as may be interested in such assets.'

On the 13th of October, 1879, L. E. Alexander, a citizen of Missouri, and the receiver of the Columbia Life Insurance Company of Missouri, recovered a claim against the Life Association

Page 223

of America of $1,100,000, and thereupon William S. Relfe, the superintendent of the insurance department of the State, commenced proceedings under the statute to dissolve the lastnamed corporation and wind up its affairs. In his petition he prayed that the company might be enjoined from doing any further business, and that an agent might be appointed to take charge of its property temporarily. Such an order was made in the cause, and D. M. Frost, a citizen of Missouri, appointed temporary agent and receiver. Frost at once qualified under this appointment.

On the 5th of November, 1879, Rundle and wife, the appellees, policy-holders of the company, commenced suit in the Fifth District Court of the Parish of New Orleans, against the life association, Frost, the temporary agent and receiver, John R. Fell, the local agent of the company at New Orleans, and L. E. Alexander, receiver of the Columbia Life Insurance Company, the object of which was to have the assets of the company in Louisiana declared a trust fund and applied to the payment of the claims of Louisiana creditors and policy-holders in preference to others. In the bill the decree in favor of the receiver of the Columbia Life Insurance Company, and the proceedings by Relfe, the superintendent of the insurance department, with the appointment of Frost as temporary receiver, were set out in detail, and the whole object and purpose of the suit was to keep the Louisiana assets out of the hands of Relfe and his successors in office. No special relief was asked against the receiver of the Columbia Life Insurance Company. Upon the filing, of the bill, Walter B. Wilcox was appointed receiver. Service of process was made on Alexander only through Francis B. Lee, who was appointed curator ad hoc at the same time that Wilcox was appointed receiver. Fell was made a party only for the purpose of reaching property in his hands.

On the 10th of November the company was dissolved by a decree of the Missouri court, and its property vested in Relfe, superintendent of the insurance department, as provided by the statute. On the 17th...

To continue reading