Clark v. Security Benefit Assn., 35276.

Decision Date16 November 1938
Docket NumberNo. 35276.,35276.
Citation121 S.W.2d 148
PartiesCORA A. CLARK, Defendant in Error, v. THE SECURITY BENEFIT ASSOCIATION, a Corporation, Plaintiff in Error.
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Appeal from Newton Circuit Court. Hon. Emory E. Smith, Judge.

REVERSED.

A.W. Fulton, Leo H. Johnson, Lamm & Barnett and Michaels, Blackmar, Newkirk, Eager & Swanson for plaintiff in error.

(1) A constitutional question is presented, giving the Supreme Court jurisdiction. Sec. 1, Art. IV, U.S. Const.; Rechow v. Bankers Life Co., 335 Mo. 668, 73 S.W. (2d) 794; Hawkins v. Glen, 131 U.S. 319; Sanger v. Upton, 91 U.S. 58; Hancock Natl. Bank v. Farnum, 176 U.S. 640, 20 Sup. Ct. 506, 44 L. Ed. 69; Parker v. Stoughton Mill Co., 91 Wis. 174; Modern Woodmen of America v. Mixer, 267 U.S. 544, 45 Sup. Ct. 389; Sov. Camp W.O.W. v. Shelton, 270 U.S. 628, 46 Sup. Ct. 207; Fowler v. Sov. Camp W.O.W., 106 Neb. 192, 183 N.W. 550; Broderick v. Rosner, 294 U.S. 629, 74 L. Ed. 1100, 55 Sup. Ct. 589; 12 C.J. 436; Wiggins Ferry Co. v. C. & A. Ry. Co., 11 Fed. 383, affirmed 108 U.S. 18, 7 Sup. Ct. 614, 27 L. Ed. 636; Supreme Council Royal Arcanum v. Green, 237 U.S. 531, 35 Sup. Ct. 724. (2) The court erred in concluding as a matter of law that the rights of the parties are to be determined by the laws of Missouri and interpreted according to the decisions of the Missouri courts. 12 C.J., pp. 471, 473, 477, 478; Broderick v. Rosner, 294 U.S. 629, 74 L. Ed. 1100, 55 Sup. Ct. 589; Modern Woodmen of America v. Mixer, 267 U.S. 544; Hartford Life Ins. Co. v. Barber, 245 U.S. 146, 38 Sup. Ct. 54, 62 L. Ed. 208; Hartford Life Ins. Co. v. Ibs, 237 U.S. 662, 35 Sup. Ct. 692; Supreme Council Royal Arcanum v. Green, 237 U.S. 531, 35 Sup. Ct. 724; Sanger v. Upton, 91 U.S. 58; Head v. Providence Ins. Co., 2 Cranch. 167: Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 636; Relfe v. Rundle, 103 U.S. 226; Canada So. Ry. Co. v. Gebhard, 109 U.S. 527; McClement v. Supreme Court, I.O.O.F., 222 N.Y. 470, 119 N.E. 99; Gaines v. Supreme Council, R.A., 140 Fed. 978; Rechow v. Bankers Life Co., 335 Mo. 668, 73 S.W. (2d) 794; Wall v. Bankers Life Co., 208 Iowa, 1053, 223 N.W. 257; Supreme Lodge, N.E.O.P. v. Hines, 82 Conn. 315, 73 Atl. 791; Supreme Colony, U.O.P.F. v. Towne, 87 Conn. 644, 89 Atl. 264; Palmer v. Welch, 132 Ill. 141, 23 N.E. 412; Grimme v. Grimme, 198 Ill. 265, 64 N.E. 1088; Supreme Council A.L.H. v. Green, 71 Md. 263, 17 Am. St. Rep. 527, 17 Atl. 1048; Supreme Council, R.A. v. Brashears, 89 Md. 624, 73 Am. St. Rep. 244, 43 Atl. 866; United Order, G.C. v. Merrick, 165 Mass. 421, 43 N.E. 127; Gibson v. Imperial Council, O.U.F., 168 Mass. 391, 47 N.E. 101; Larkin v. Knights of Columbus, 188 Mass. 22, 73 N.E. 850; Tepper v. Supreme Council, R.A., 59 N.J. Eq. 321, 45 Atl. 111, Id., 61 N.J. Eq. 638, 88 Am. St. Rep. 449, 47 Atl. 460; Bockover v. Life Assn. of America, 77 Va. 85; Valleroy v. Knights of Columbus, 135 Mo. App. 574, 116 S.W. 1131; Smoot v. Bankers Life Assn., 138 Mo. App. 438, 120 S.W. 719; DeVore-Norton v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, 132 Okla. 130, 270 Pac. 14; M.W.A. v. Crudup, 51 Pac. (2d) 718; Sov. Camp W.O.W. v. Smith, 176 Okla. 545, 56 Pac. (2d) 408; Supreme Lodge, K.H. v. Nairn, 60 Mich. 44, 26 N.W. 826; Sov. Camp v. Wirtz, 114 Tex. 471, 268 S.W. 438; Willson v. W.O.W., 64 Pac. (2d) 1064; Korn v. Mut. Assur. Assn., 6 Cranch, 192, 3 L. Ed. 195; Scow v. Supreme Council, R.L., 223 Ill. 32, 79 N.E. 42; Steen v. W.W.A., 296 Ill. 104, 129 N.W. 546; Supreme Lodge, K.P. v. Clarke, 88 Ill. App. 600, reversed in 189 Ill. 639, 60 N.E. 39; Knights of Maccabees v. Nelson, 77 Kan. 629, 95 Pac. 1052; Eversberg v. Supreme Tent K.M., 33 Tex. Civ. App. 549, 77 S.W. 246; Plunkett v. Supreme Conclave, I.O.H., 105 Va. 643, 55 S.E. 9; Stohr v. San Francisco Musical Fund Soc., 82 Cal. 557, 22 Pac. 1125; Supreme Lodge K.P. v. Knight, 117 Ind. 489, 3 L.R.A. 409, 20 N.E. 479; Pain v. Societe St. Jean Baptiste, 172 Mass. 319, 70 Am. St. Rep. 287, 52 N.E. 502; Richmond v. Supreme Lodge O.M.P., 100 Mo. App. 8, 71 S.W. 736; Duer v. Supreme Council, O.C.F., 21 Tex. Civ. App. 493, 52 S.W. 109; Fugure v. St. Joseph Mut. Soc., 46 Vt. 362; Smith v. Galloway, 1 Q.B. 71; Baker v. Forest City Lodge, 1. O.O.F., 28 Ont. 238, 24 Ont. App. 585; Doidge v. Dominion Council, C. & N.R.T.T., 4 Ont. L. Rep. 423; Dey v. Knights & Ladies of Security, 113 Kan. 86, 213 Pac. 1066; Kirk v. Fraternal Aid Assn., 95 Kan. 707, 149 Pac. 400; Messenheimer v. Fraternal Aid Union, 103 Kan. 552, 175 Pac. 679; Mooney v. Brotherhood of Ry. Trainmen, 162 Minn. 127, 204 N.W. 957; Steen v. M.W.A., 296 Ill. 104, 129 N.E. 546. (3) The court erred in concluding as a matter of law that after the execution of the certificate of insurance the rights and liabilities of the parties were vested and fixed thereby, and that the defendant had no power to alter its contractual obligations by any act of its own, but that they remain the same, the by-laws of the defendant notwithstanding. Miller v. Natl. Council Knights & Ladies of Security, 69 Kan. 259, 76 Pac. 830; Dey v. Knights & Ladies of Security, 113 Kan. 86, 213 Pac. 1066; State ex rel. Knights & Ladies of Security v. Allen, 306 Mo. 633, 269 S.W. 388; Modern Woodmen of Am. v. Mixer, 267 U.S. 544, 45 Sup. Ct. 389; Westerman v. Supreme Lodge K.P., 196 Mo. 670, 94 S.W. 470, 489; Richmond v. Supreme Lodge, 100 Mo. App. 8, 19, 71 S.W. 736, 739. (4) The court erred in holding that the contract was fully performed on the part of Carson E. Clark and that his right to the payment of $375 had matured, and that the defendant could not plead ultra vires and retain the money paid by the insured. Miller v. Natl. Council, K. & L. of S., 69 Kan. 234, 76 Pac. 830; Messenheimer v. Fraternal Aid Union, 103 Kan. 552, 175 Pac. 679; Kirk v. Fraternal Aid Assn., 95 Kan. 707, 149 Pac. 400; Dey v. Knights & Ladies of Security, 113 Kan. 86, 213 Pac. 1066; Burchard v. Western Commercial Travelers' Assn., 139 Mo. App. 606, 123 S.W. 973; Boyce v. Royal Circle, 99 Mo. App. 349, 73 S.W. 300; Smoot v. Bankers Life Assn., 138 Mo. App. 438, 120 S.W. 719; Garretson v. Sov. Camp. W.O.W., 210 Mo. App. 539, 243 S.W. 260; Porter v. Loyal Americans of the Republic, 180 Mo. App. 538, 167 S.W. 578.

E.H. Gamble amicus curiae.

Ruark & Ruark for defendant in error.

(1) A claim of Federal constitutional right may be barred by waiver or estoppel. Whether an estoppel exists is adjudged by the law of the forum as a matter of the State's public policy. 12 C.J. 769, sec. 190; Eustis v. Bolles, 150 U.S. 361, 14 Sup. Ct. 131; Pierce v. Somerset Ry. Co., 171 U.S. 641, 19 Sup. Ct. 64; Meyer v. Richmond, 172 U.S. 82, 19 Sup. Ct. 106; Humbird v. Avery, 195 U.S. 480, 25 Sup. Ct. 123; Leonard v. Vicksburg Ry. Co., 198 U.S. 416, 25 Sup. Ct. 750; Wall v. Parrott Silver Co., 244 U.S. 407, 37 Sup. Ct. 681; Pierce Oil Co. v. Phoenix Ref. Co., 259 U.S. 125, 42 Sup. Ct. 440; Early v. Maccabees, 48 S.W. (2d) 890; Rechow v. Bankers Life, 335 Mo. 668, 73 S.W. (2d) 790; Bolin v. W.O.W., 98 S.W. (2d) 681; Marshall v. Maccabees, 270 S.W. 418; Illinois Fuel Co. v. Mobile Ry. Co., 8 S.W. (2d) 834. (2) The decisions of the Kansas court in the Kirk and Dey cases, whereby it held the 1898 Kansas statute retrospective, and that it destroyed the endowment feature of previously issued policy contracts, was violative of U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 10, the contract clause, and no unconstitutional decision of one State can bind the courts of another. Bedford v. Eastern, etc., Assn., 181 U.S. 227, 21 Sup. Ct. 597; Converse v. Hamilton, 224 U.S. 243, 32 Sup. Ct. 415; Bank of Minden v. Clement, 256 U.S. 126, 41 Sup. Ct. 408; Treigle v. Acme Homestead Assn., 297 U.S. 189, 56 Sup. Ct. 408; M.W.A. v. Mixer, 267 U.S. 544, 45 Sup. Ct. 389; Kirk v. Fraternal Aid, 95 Kan. 707, 149 Pac. 400; Dey v. K. & L. of Sec., 113 Kan. 86, 213 Pac. 1066; 6 R.C.L., p. 347; 12 C.J., pp. 991-993; Manigault v. Springs, 199 U.S. 473, 26 Sup. Ct. 127; L. & N. Railroad Co. v. Mottley, 219 U.S. 467, 31 Sup. Ct. 265; Union Dry Goods Co. v. Georgia P.S. Co., 148 U.S. 372, 39 Sup. Ct. 117; Ayers v. Grand Lodge A.O.U.W., 188 N.Y. 280, 80 N.E. 1020; White v. Park, 13 Wall. 646, 20 L. Ed. 685; Barnitz v. Beverly, 163 U.S. 118, 16 Sup. Ct. 1042; Worthen Co. v. Thomas, 292 U.S. 426, 54 Sup. Ct. 816; Treigle v. Acme Homestead Assn., 297 U.S. 189, 56 Sup. Ct. 408; International Steel Co. v. Natl. Surety Co., 297 U.S. 657, 56 Sup. Ct. 619; State of Indiana ex rel. Anderson v. Brand, 58 Sup. Ct. 443. (3) The Missouri statutes and long settled rules of decision for protecting Missouri holders of policies in non-resident fraternals are sound. The Robertson opinion setting them at naught is revolutionary and wrong. It should be overruled. New York Life Ins. Co. v. Cravens, 178 U.S. 389, 20 Sup. Ct. 962; N.W. Natl. Life v. Riggs, 203 U.S. 243, 27 Sup. Ct. 126; Royal Arcanum v. Green, 237 U.S. 531, 35 Sup. Ct. 724; Constable v. Maccabees, 284 S.W. 514. (4) The policy in suit is not a fraternal, but an old line contract, and thereunder defendant is liable to the same extent as an old line insurer. Mo. 1897, Sess. Laws, p. 132; Kern v. American Legion, 167 Mo. 471, 67 S.W. 653; Schmidt v. Order of Foresters, 228 Mo. 675, 129 S.W. 653; Mathews v. M.W.A., 139 S.W. 151; Orthwein v. Germania, etc., Co., 261 Mo. 650, 170 S.W. 885; Brassfield v. M.W.A., 88 Mo. App. 208; Brassfield v. Maccabees, 92 Mo. App. 102; Bolin v. Sovereign Camp W.O.W., 112 S.W. (2d) 582; Reece v. Sec. Ben. Assn., 114 S.W. (2d) 207; Baker v. W.O.W., 116 S.W. (2d) 513. (5) The trial court was not compelled, in the absence of corroborative documentary evidence, to believe the oral testimony, even though uncontradicted, of a witness for defendant that its 1896 charter became effective in January, before the date of the Clark policy, 3/7-1896. St. Louis Union Trust Co. v. Hill, 223 S.W. 434; Lafferty v. K.C. Cas. Co., 229 S.W. 750; Hay v. Banker's Life, 231 S.W. 1040; Wilson v. Chicago, etc., Ry. Co., 296...

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5 cases
  • Clark v. Security Ben. Ass'n
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • November 16, 1938
    ... 121 S.W.2d 148 343 Mo. 263 Cora A. Clark, Defendant in Error, v. The Security Benefit Association, a Corporation, Plaintiff in Error No. 35276 Supreme Court of Missouri November 16, ... 111, Id., ... 61 N.J.Eq. 638, 88 Am. St. Rep. 449, 47 A. 460; Bockover ... v. Life Assn. of America, 77 Va. 85; Valleroy v ... Knights of Columbus, 135 Mo.App. 574, 116 S.W. 1131; ... ...
  • Meinsen v. Order of United Commercial Travelers
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Missouri
    • January 15, 1942
    ...in opinions of that Court of which Robertson v. Security Benefit Ass'n, 342 Mo. 284, 114 S.W.2d 1009, and Clark v. Security Benefit Ass'n, 343 Mo. 263, 121 S.W.2d 148, are illustrative. But the noted tendency was more the result of the compelling effect of such cases as Hartford Life Ins. C......
  • McDaniel v. Sovereign Camp, W. O. W.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • May 7, 1940
    ...Reece v. Security Benefit Ass'n, Mo.Sup., 124 S.W.2d 1146; Baker v. Sov. Camp, W. O. W., Mo.Sup., 125 S.W.2d 849; Clark v. Security Benefit Ass'n, 343 Mo. 263, 121 S.W.2d 148; Sovereign Camp Woodmen of the World v. Bolin, 305 U.S. 66, 59 S.Ct. 35, 83 L.Ed. 45, 119 A.L.R. 478. The validity o......
  • Ragsdale v. Brotherhood of Ry. Trainmen, 37176.
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    • February 14, 1941
    ...66, 59 S.Ct. 35, 83 L.Ed. 45, 119 A.L.R. 478; Robertson v. Security Benefit Ass'n, 342 Mo. 284, 114 S.W.2d 1009; Clark v. Security Benefit Ass'n, 343 Mo. 263, 121 S.W.2d 148; Reece v. Security Benefit Ass'n, 344 Mo. 29, 124 S.W.2d 1146; Baker v. Sovereign Camp, 344 Mo. 230, 125 S.W.2d 849. ......
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