187 S.W. 137 (Mo.App. 1916), Tuite v. Supreme Forest Woodmen Circle

Citation:187 S.W. 137, 193 Mo.App. 619
Opinion Judge:JOHNSON, J.
Party Name:MRS. C. E. TUITE, Appellant, v. SUPREME FOREST WOODMEN CIRCLE, Respondent
Attorney:Noyes & Heath for appellant. Harding, Murphy & Harris for respondent.
Case Date:June 12, 1916
Court:Court of Appeals of Missouri
 
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Page 137

187 S.W. 137 (Mo.App. 1916)

193 Mo.App. 619

MRS. C. E. TUITE, Appellant,

v.

SUPREME FOREST WOODMEN CIRCLE, Respondent

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Kansas City

June 12, 1916

Appeal from Jackson Circuit Court.--Hon. Frank G. Johnson, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

Judgment affirmed.

Noyes & Heath for appellant.

Harding, Murphy & Harris for respondent.

OPINION

Page 138

[193 Mo.App. 620] JOHNSON, J.

--This is an action on a death benefit certificate for $ 1100 issued April 30, 1900, by defendant, a fraternal beneficiary society incorporated in Nebraska, to Michael T. Tuite, a resident of Missouri. Plaintiff, the wife of Tuite, was designated in the certificate as the beneficiary. Tuite was a member of a local lodge of the order in Kansas City and paid all dues until his death which occurred at the Soldiers' Home in Leavenworth, Kansas, on August 6, 1913.

The answer alleges and the proof shows that when Tuite joined the order and applied for the certificate, and at all times thereafter, defendant was a [193 Mo.App. 621] fraternal beneficiary society incorporated in Nebraska and regularly licensed to do business as such in this State. Plaintiff argues that the contract in question does not fall within the purview of the laws of this State relating to fraternal beneficiary societies for the reason that the laws of Nebraska and the charter of defendant authorized the inclusion of "adopted children . . . or other relatives" among the classes eligible to designation as beneficiaries in death benefit certificates. The statutes of this State provide that "payments of death benefits shall be to the families, heirs, blood relatives, affianced husband or affianced wife of, or to persons dependent upon the member." [Sec. 7190, R. S. 1909.]

Plaintiff invokes the rule we recognized in Dennis v. Modern Brotherhood, 119 Mo.App. 210, 95 S.W. 967, that a foreign association would not be accorded the benefits of the laws of this State relating to fraternal beneficiary societies where there was a substantial

Page 139

difference between the classes of beneficiaries such association was authorized by its charter to recognize as eligible and the classes mentioned in our own statutes. But that rule will not aid plaintiff. A fraternal society incorporated in this State may designate an adopted child of the member as the beneficiary in a death benefit certificate since such child being an heir of the member (Art. 1, Ch. 20, R. S. 1909), belongs to a class specifically mentioned in the statute. And we find the class "other relatives" appears by its context to refer to blood relatives and, therefore, is identical with a class mentioned in our statute. We hold the proof of defendant sufficient to warrant us in treating the contract and the rights of the parties thereunder as being governed by the laws and rules relating to fraternal beneficiary insurance.

The principal defense is that the certificate is void because its execution by defendant was ultra vires the power conferred upon defendant by its charter from [193 Mo.App. 622] the State of Nebraska. The laws of that State forbid the issuance of a death benefit certificate to any person over fifty-five years of age and...

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