292 U.S. 143 (1934), 650, Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. v. Delta & Pine Land Co.

Docket Nº:No. 650
Citation:292 U.S. 143, 54 S.Ct. 634, 78 L.Ed. 1178
Party Name:Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. v. Delta & Pine Land Co.
Case Date:April 09, 1934
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 143

292 U.S. 143 (1934)

54 S.Ct. 634, 78 L.Ed. 1178

Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co.


Delta & Pine Land Co.

No. 650

United States Supreme Court

April 9, 1934

Argued March 15, 1934



1. A contract between a Connecticut and a Mississippi corporation, whereby the former insured the latter against loss through dishonesty of one of its employees "in any position anywhere," was made in Tennessee, where both parties and the employee were

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present, and contained a condition that any claim under the contract must be made within 15 months from the termination of the suretyship. In an action for defalcations committed in Mississippi, where also both corporations did business, the courts of Mississippi held that the condition was contrary to the policy and law of that State, and awarded judgment against the insurer, although the condition had not been complied with. Held that such extension of the Mississippi law was beyond the jurisdiction of the State and void under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 149.

2. Obligations of a contract lawfully made in another jurisdiction may not be enlarged by a State to accord with all its own statutory policies upon the ground that one of the parties is its own citizen. P. 149.

3. A legislative policy which attempts to draw to the the forum control over the obligations of contracts elsewhere validly consummated and to convert them for all purposes into contracts of the forum, regardless of the relative importance of the interests of the forum as contrasted with those created at the place of the contract, conflicts with the guaranties of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 150.

169 Miss. 196 reversed.

Appeal from a judgment sustaining a recovery from the Indemnity Company in an action on an indemnity bond.

ROBERTS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was an action instituted in a circuit court of Mississippi by Delta & Pine Land Company, a corporation of that state, with its principal place of business therein, against Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company, a corporation of Connecticut, having its principal place of business in Hartford in that state. The declaration alleges that, on or about January 1, 1928, the plaintiff applied

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to the defendant for a fidelity bond and paid the agreed premiums therefor, and the defendant executed and delivered to the plaintiff such a bond, whereby it bound itself to pay the plaintiff, within sixty days after satisfactory proof, pecuniary loss sustained by the plaintiff through fraud or dishonesty or willful misapplication by any employee "in any position, anywhere," from the time that the name of such employee should be placed upon a schedule attached to the bond to and including the termination of the suretyship for such employee by his dismissal, retirement from service, discovery of loss, or cancellation of the bond by the parties. It is alleged that the name of H. H. Harris, as treasurer of the plaintiff, appears upon the schedule, and that the amount of coverage for him is $25,000. Sundry defalcations by Harris between May 9, 1929, and December 20, 1929, totaling $2,703.79, are set forth, all of which and the resulting loss occurred in the First Judicial District of Bolivar County, Miss. The further material matters charged are that the defendant, throughout all the times mentioned in the declaration and ever since, was and now is duly qualified and licensed to do business in Mississippi; that the dishonest acts of Harris were discovered on or about May 20, 1931, immediate notice given to the defendant at its home office, and affirmative proof of loss under oath, with full particulars, filed with the defendant at its home office within three months after the discovery. The declaration, in conclusion, asserts compliance by plaintiff with all the terms of the bond and refusal of the defendant, though requested, to make payment of the sum demanded. Annexed to the declaration are copies of the bond and the [54 S.Ct. 635] supplementary schedules forming part of it.

The defendant's plea was, in substance: the plaintiff, before and at the date of the contract of suretyship, was doing business in Tennessee, with its principal office at Memphis in that state, and defendant also was then and

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is now doing business in Tennessee, having an agency at Memphis; plaintiff, through its office at Memphis, applied to defendant through its agency there for the bond, rider, and schedules containing the name of the defaulting employee, Harris, constituting the contract of suretyship; defendant through its agency at Memphis executed and delivered the bond and schedules to plaintiff at its office in that city; the contract is a Tennessee contract and governed by the laws of Tennessee, and full faith and credit must be given to it in the...

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