70 N.W. 107 (Iowa 1897), Beechley v. Mulville

Citation:70 N.W. 107, 102 Iowa 602
Opinion Judge:GRANGER, J.
Party Name:N. K. BEECHLEY v. JOHN MULVILLE, et al., Appellants
Attorney:Jamison & Burr and A. R. West for appellants. Smith & Smith and C. J. Deacon for appellee.
Case Date:February 03, 1897
Court:Supreme Court of Iowa
 
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Page 107

70 N.W. 107 (Iowa 1897)

102 Iowa 602

N. K. BEECHLEY

v.

JOHN MULVILLE, et al., Appellants

Supreme Court of Iowa, Des Moines

February 3, 1897

          Appeal from Linn District Court.--HON. W. P. WOLF Judge.

         ACTION for damages because of a conspiracy to destroy plaintiff's business as an insurance agent. Judgment for plaintiff, and the defendants appealed.

          Reversed.

         Jamison & Burr and A. R. West for appellants.

         Smith & Smith and C. J. Deacon for appellee.

          OPINION

          [102 Iowa 603] GRANGER, J.

         I.

         The defendants are, besides John Mulville, Henry Bennett, the Detroit Fire & Marine Insurance Company of Detroit, Mich., and the Phoenix Insurance Company of Hartford, Conn. Charles T. West was named as a defendant, but not served. The plaintiff was an insurance agent at Cedar

Page 108

Rapids, Iowa and on the fourteenth day of November, 1883, he became a member of the "compact" or organization styled the Cedar Rapids & Marion Underwriters' Union. The agreement is embraced in a writing, denominated "Compact," the first division of which is as follows:

         "Compact.

         "The Cedar Rapids and Marion Underwriters' Union.

         "We, the undersigned, local agents of Cedar Rapids and Marion, Iowa agree to enter into the following compact, with Henry Bennett, as manager, who shall be required to give a good and sufficient bond in liquidated damages not to engage in the business of fire insurance as a local agent, directly or indirectly, in Cedar Rapids or Marion, for a period of not less than three years from the date of his vacation of office, the expense of such compact and manager to be paid by the companies on a pro rata basis of receipts. The duties of said manager to be as follows: (1) To fix rates upon all risks in Cedar Rapids and Marion and vicinity of each, which he shall promulgate and furnish to all agents at once. (2) He shall pass upon and approve by his official stamp (which shall bear no erasures or alterations) all the monthly accounts, abstracts, and daily reports, reports of transfers of location of risks, and indorsements, and mail same to various companies or general agents; also, all policies, renewal receipts, or certificates of insurance on which a return premium is charged to [102 Iowa 604] the company, or allowed by the agent. (3) He shall investigate all irregularities which may come under his notice, and have power to examine the books and papers, and take the written statement of any agent, under oath, and enforce such penalties for violation as are hereinafter prescribed in this agreement; and in case of failure or refusal of any agent to pay any penalty assessed under this clause, within ten days, the manager shall have power, and it shall be his duty, to take possession of the books and papers of the company or companies in such agency, providing the manager shall first obtain from such company or companies a written order therefor, and hold the same subject to their order, it being conditioned only that the infliction of a money penalty on an agent or agents shall cover all offenses prior thereto, except that nothing herein shall prevent the manager from peremptorily ordering canceled any policy or policies theretofore issued in violation of this compact and pledge, and prohibiting such agent or agents from writing upon the risk or risks for one year thereafter; and any risk shall be considered as an offense, irrespective of the number of policies issued thereon. Now, therefore, in consideration of the appointment of such manager, we, the undersigned local agents, do hereby agree to and associate ourselves together, under the name of the Cedar Rapids and Marion Underwriters' Union, with the following organization, pledge, and penalties."

         The other divisions of the compact are under the headings "Organization," "Pledge," and "Penalties." After some provisions as to organization is the following, as a part of the pledge: "We also agree strictly and honorably to adhere, both in letter and spirit, to the following pledge, viz.: Section 1. That we will not write a risk until a rate has been fixed by the manager, and will adhere to all the rates fixed by him; [102 Iowa 605] that we will not issue a policy ourselves or cause insurance to be written by any company at less than said fixed rates; and, in the event of binding an unrated risk, we will submit an application for rating thereon to the manager, upon the same or next succeeding business day to that on which such risk was bound."...

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