5 Mass. 230 (Mass. 1809), Commonwealth v. Union Fire And Marine Insurance Company In Newburyport

Citation:5 Mass. 230
Opinion Judge:Parsons, C. J.
Party Name:Commonwealth v. the Union Fire and Marine Insurance Company in Newburyport
Attorney:Jackson, for the defendants, The Solicitor-General, acknowledging himself to appear, not in his official character, but as counsel for the relators,
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
 
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Page 230

5 Mass. 230 (Mass. 1809)

Commonwealth

v.

the Union Fire and Marine Insurance Company in Newburyport

Supreme Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

March, 1809

This was a motion for a rule upon the defendants to show cause why the Solicitor-General should not be directed to file an information in the nature of a quo warranto against them, that the said company might be dissolved, and their corporate powers be adjudged void.

Rule discharged.

The motion was made by Sullivan, in behalf of seventeen persons alleging themselves to be members of the corporation, and a rule was granted returnable at the term of this Court next to be holden in the county of Essex. That rule not having been served on the corporation, a new rule to the same effect was moved for, at the term in Essex, and granted, returnable at the July adjournment of this term, and being duly served, the parties appeared, and.

Jackson, for the defendants, contended that the corporation could not by law be called to answer out of their own county. The relators, as well as the corporation, all have their residence in Essex. There the facts, of which there will be many in question, must be tried, and in the discussion of them, the books and papers of the company must be produced. He therefore moved that the rule, if it is to be sustained, should be enlarged to the next November term in Essex.

But he insisted that an information to seize the franchises of a corporation is never ordered at the motion of an individual. Here it ought to be directed by the government, or at least filed by the Attorney or Solicitor-General ex officio.

The Solicitor-General, acknowledging himself to appear, not in his official character, but as counsel for the relators, insisted that where the mischief, or cause complained of, is such as affects the public, the Court will order an information at the relation of any individual not specially interested, and a fortiori at the instance of corporators, who complain of an injury to themselves.

The facts charged in this case, if proved, would certainly incur a forfeiture of the charter, as they imply a gross misuser of the powers of the corporation. It will not be denied that there is ground from the affidavit of the complainants, to believe them true. As they are denied, the truth of them is a proper subject of inquiry by this Court, who have the general superintendence of...

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