105 F.2d 53 (D.D.C. 1939), 7316, Hutchins Mut. Ins. Co. of District of Columbia v. Hazen

Docket Nº:7316.
Citation:105 F.2d 53
Case Date:April 10, 1939
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Page 53

105 F.2d 53 (D.D.C. 1939)




HAZEN et al.

No. 7316.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia.

April 10, 1939

Argued February 6, 1939.

Rehearing Denied May 18, 1939.

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Irvin Goldstein and William R. Lichtenberg, both of Washington, D.C., for appellant.

Elwood H. Seal, Corp. Counsel, D.C., Vernon E. West, Principal Asst. Corp. Counsel, D.C., and Lloyd B. Harrison, Sp.

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Asst. Corp. Counsel, D.C., all of Washington, D.C., for appellees.

Before GRONER, Chief Justice, and MILLER and VINSON, Associate justices.


This is an appeal from an order and judgment of the District Court denying plaintiff's (appellant's) application for injunction and dismissing the complaint.

Appellant is a local mutual insurance company and is licensed to do business in the District of Columbia under authority of an Act of Congress passed in 1922 entitled 'An Act To regulate marine insurance in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes. ' 1 The Act covers not only what is called marine insurance but as well practically all other kinds of insurance, including insurance 'on automobiles against loss or damage from collision or theft, and against liability of the owner or user for injury to person or property caused by his automobile. ' Section 3. Section 4 provides certain conditions precedent to the organization of 'domestic mutual companies' and requires that such a company, before obtaining a license to do business, shall have 'received in cash, with respect to each * * * class of insurance written, at least one advance periodical premium on each * * * application, aggregating at least $10,000"; and shall have a surplus of $10,000 in money or other lawful investments above its liabilities including the liability equal to the aggregate amount of premiums so advanced. Appellant was in the automobile liability insurance business in the District of Columbia prior to 1938. In that year Congress passed a compulsory taxicab insurance act, 2 the effect of which was to impose on each taxicab owner or operator the duty to file with the Public Utilities Commission 'for each motor vehicle to be operated a * * * policy * * * of liability insurance * * * in a solvent and responsible * * * insurance company authorized to do business in the District of Columbia * * * in such form and on such terms or conditions as the Commission may direct. ' 3 The language in the act particularly pertinent to this controversy is as follows:

'Any such policy of liability insurance shall be issued only by such insurance companies as may have been authorized to do business in the District of Columbia * * * . The Superintendent of Insurance of the District of Columbia shall be empowered to make all reasonable rules and regulations relating to the writing of taxicab insurance and shall be empowered to govern the maximum rates to be charged on such insurance. * * * It shall be unlawful to operate any vehicle subject to the provisions of this paragraph unless such vehicles shall be covered by * * * (a) policy of liability insurance as provided herein. The Public Utilities Commission shall have the power to make all reasonable rules and regulations which, in its opinion, are necessary to make effective the purposes of this section.

'Any violation of this section or of the regulations lawfully promulgated thereunder shall be deemed a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $300 or by imprisonment for not more than ninety days, and/or cancellation of license.'

Claiming to act under authority of this statute, the Superintendent of Insurance promulgated nineteen regulations applicable to companies writing taxicab insurance:

1 & 2. Policies must be in a form approved by the Superintendent. 3. Maximum rates are fixed. 4 & 5. Premiums must be collected in advance and five-day notice of cancellation given to the Commission. 6, 7 & 8. Complete records must be kept of accidents, claims, suits, etc., and payments must be made by company check. 9. Rebating is defined and attention is called to the statutory prohibition. 10. Companies must keep a register of all policies issued...

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