409 U.S. 953 (1972), 71-1487, Confederation Life Insurance Co. v. Delara

Docket Nº:No. 71-1487.
Citation:409 U.S. 953, 93 S.Ct. 284, 34 L.Ed.2d 225
Case Date:October 24, 1972
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 953

409 U.S. 953 (1972)

93 S.Ct. 284, 34 L.Ed.2d 225



Hector deLARA et al.

No. 71-1487.

United States Supreme Court.

October 24, 1972


On petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Florida.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Mr. Justice BRENNAN, with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurs, dissenting.

I dissent from the Court's refusal to grant certiorari to consider whether the Florida Supreme Court's choice of law in this action on a life insurance contract deprived petitioner of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment and the principles established in Home Insurance Co. v. Dick, 281 U.S. 397, 50 S.Ct. 338, 74 L.Ed.2d 926 (1930).

Petitioner, a Canadian insurance company, issued a policy of life insurance in 1938 to German Lopez Sanchez, who was a citizen and resident of Cuba until his death in 1962. The policy provided that all payments would be made in United States dollars, which were then recognized as one of two legal currencies in Cuba. But on June 30, 1951, the government of Cuba suspended the legal tender status of the dollar and decreed that all previously contracted dollar obligations would henceforth be payable exclusively in Cuban pesos at the rate of one peso per dollar. Petitioner concluded that the decree automatically converted the policy from dollars to pesos, and on July 1, 1951, it notified the insured that

'[a]ll permiums payable in accordance with this policy as well as all other liability contracted under the same and in which a reference is made to American currency, will from now on be payable in Cuban National currency, at par, in accordance with Law No. 13 of 1948 and Decree No. 1384 of April 1951.'

The insured declined to terminate the policy in light of this notification, and made all subsequent payments entirely in pesos. By legislation in 1959 and 1961 the Cuban Government reconfirmed the 1951 decree and provided criminal penalties for its violation. Petitioner

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maintains peso reserves in Cuba prescisely for the purpose of meeting its obligations under this and similar contracts, but it is barred by the Cuban currency laws from transferring those funds outside of Cuba. Under Cuban law it thus seems clear that petitioner was obligated [93 S.Ct. 285] to pay the benefits due under the policy only in Cuba and only in...

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