129 S.W. 444 (Mo.App. 1910), Renfro ex rel. Jenkins v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Company

Citation:129 S.W. 444, 148 Mo.App. 258
Opinion Judge:REYNOLDS, P. J.
Party Name:SAMUEL S. RENFRO, by SAMUEL A. JENKINS, His Next Friend, Appellant, v. METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Respondent
Attorney:James J. O'Donohoe for appellant. Nathan Frank and M. W. Oliver for respondent.
Case Date:April 19, 1910
Court:Court of Appeals of Missouri
 
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Page 444

129 S.W. 444 (Mo.App. 1910)

148 Mo.App. 258

SAMUEL S. RENFRO, by SAMUEL A. JENKINS, His Next Friend, Appellant,

v.

METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Respondent

Court of Appeals of Missouri, St. Louis

April 19, 1910

Page 445

March 14, 1910, Submitted on Briefs

Appeal from St. Louis City Circuit Court.--Hon. Jas. E. Withrow, Judge.

REVERSED AND REMANDED (with directions).

STATEMENT.--Samuel S. Renfro is an infant under the age of 21 years and over the age of 18, and having no legally appointed guardian, a next friend, who is the nominal plaintiff, has been appointed by the court to serve in that capacity and as such has brought this suit. Using the word plaintiff hereafter, unless otherwise noted, we refer to the minor, who is the real party in interest. The suit was originally brought in a justice's court on a statement there filed and on an appeal to the circuit court the amended petition on which the case was tried was filed. In this amended petition it is set out that the defendant is a corporation incorporated under the laws of New York, engaged in business in this State, and that on the 14th of October, 1901, at the city of St. Louis, the defendant, by its certain policy, insured the life of one Jessie Taylor, the mother of the plaintiff, and that while the plaintiff's name does not appear in the policy as the beneficiary, yet it is averred that it was understood and agreed by and between defendant, plaintiff and the insured that the plaintiff would be made beneficiary in the policy; that it is provided in the policy as follows:

"In case of such prior death of the insured the company may pay the amount due under this policy to either the beneficiary named above or the executor or administrator, husband or wife, or any relative by blood of the insured, and the production of a receipt signed by either of them shall be conclusive evidence that all claims under this policy have been satisfied."

The petition then sets out that plaintiff is a relative by blood of the insured, being her only child and heir, and that ever since the issue of the policy he has been the owner thereof and the owner of the receipt book in which the premiums paid on the policy were recorded; that it is now and was at the time of the issue of the policy, the custom of the defendant to pay industrial insurance policies such as this to the husband or wife or any relative by blood of the insured; that the insured, Jessie Taylor, died about the 25th of April, 1907, and at the time of her death all the conditions and provisions contained in the policy were duly complied with by her and within a short time after her death plaintiff applied to defendant for blanks upon which to make proof of the death of the insured, but the defendant failed, neglected and refused to furnish them and denied all liability on the policy, thereby waiving such proofs of death; that prior to the institution of the suit plaintiff demanded of defendant payment of the policy "but defendant vexatiously refused to pay said policy or any part thereof." Judgment is prayed for $ 195, less the unpaid premiums of 15 cents per week from the 14th day of May, 1906, to the date of the death of the insured, namely, 25th of April, 1907, with interest thereon from the filing of the suit, to-wit, 26th of August, 1907, also 10 per cent of the face of the policy, less the unpaid premiums aforesaid, and a reasonable attorney's fee for vexatiously refusing to pay the policy. There was no written pleading on the part of the defendant, either before the justice or the circuit court.

The case was tried before the court, a jury having been waived, and the policy introduced, which was in the name of Jessie Taylor, the weekly premiums being 15 cents and the amount of insurance payable in the event of death after one year $ 195, after three years the above amount to be increased as provided in the policy. Opposite the entry, "name of beneficiary and relationship to the insured," is the word "Estate." The policy then provides in the ordinary way that in consideration of the statements in the printed and written application which are made warranties and of the payment of the premiums mentioned on or before each Monday, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company agrees to pay as an endowment to the insured named above, on the anniversary of the policy next after she shall have passed the age of 79 years and upon the surrender of the policy and all receipt books, $ 270; or if the insured die prior to the date of the maturity of the endowment, to pay upon receipt of proofs of the death of the insured, made in the manner, to the extent and upon the blanks required herein and upon surrender of the policy and all receipt books, the amount stipulated in said schedule. Then follows this clause, which is called the "facility" clause:

"In case of such prior death of the insured the company may pay the amount due under this policy to either the beneficiary named above or to the executor or administrator, husband or wife, or any relative by blood of the insured, and the production of a receipt signed by either of them shall be conclusive evidence that all claims under this policy have been satisfied."

Another clause in the policy provides that the agents of the defendant company are not authorized and have no power to make, alter or discharge contracts, waive forfeitures or receive premiums on policies more than four weeks in arrears or to receipt for the same in the receipt book.

It...

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