Commonwealth v. Reinoehl

Citation163 Pa. 287,29 A. 896
Decision Date12 July 1894
Docket Number72
PartiesCommonwealth v. A. F. Reinoehl, Appellant
CourtPennsylvania Supreme Court

Argued May 30, 1894

Appeal, No. 72, July T., 1894, by defendant, from judgment of Q.S. Lancaster Co., Nov. T., 1893, No. 121, on verdict for Commonwealth. Reversed.

Indictment for doing insurance business without license.

At the trial it appeared that defendant was an insurance agent in the employ of the Guarantee and Accident Lloyds of New York an unincorporated association of one hundred individual underwriters of accident insurance. As their agent he issued a policy of accident insurance to B. E. Radcliff.

The insurance commissioner of Pennsylvania, alleging that the Lloyds was a foreign company of New York, doing business in this state, and that their agents must pay license, made complaint against defendant and the above indictment was found.

The court charged in part as follows:

"[The evidence offered before you on the part of the commonwealth is uncontradicted. The defence made here by the defendant is that this insurance company is not an incorporated company and therefore does not come within the purview of the act of assembly which I have just read. I charge you that that is not necessary. The act of assembly does not say it should be an incorporated company, and therefore if you believe this testimony, which is uncontradicted, your verdict should be in favor of the commonwealth, of guilty in manner and form as he stands indicted.]" [1]

Verdict, guilty, and sentence thereon.

Error assigned was above instruction, quoting it.

The judgment of the court below is reversed and it is ordered that the defendant go without day.

F. Carroll Brewster, A. C. Reinoehl with him, for appellant. -- The commonwealth produced no evidence by records or other testimony to show that the Guarantee Lloyds is an incorporated company, or company in any sense of the term.

There is no illegality in insurance underwritten by individuals: Com. v. Vrooman, 3 Dist. R. 340.

Conviction under this indictment is in violation of the constitution of the United States: Paul v. Virginia, 8 Wal. 180; Ward v. Maryland, 12 Wal. 418.

W. M. Franklin, district attorney, W. U. Hensel, attorney general, and James A. Stranahan, deputy attorney general, with him, for appellee. -- The act of Feb. 4, 1870, P.L. 14, to prohibit persons, associations, etc., from issuing fire insurance policies without authority expressly conferred by charter of incorporation given according to law, is constitutional. It is within the power of the state, and a lawful exercise of its sovereignty, to restrict insurance of any particular class to bodies corporate: 1 Biddle, Ins., P. 30; Porter, Ins. 361; California v. R.R., 127 U.S. 40; Atty. Gen. v. Ins. Co., 2 John. Ch. 371; People v. Ins. Co., 15 John. 358; Spelling on Ext. Relief, § 1806; Slaughter House Cases, 16 Wal. 36; Oleomargarine Cases, 127 U.S. 678; Act of June 1, 1889, P.L. 433; Dent v. West Virginia, 129 U.S. 114; Frorer v. People, 141 Ill. 171; Godcharles v. Wigeman, 113 Pa. 437; Randall v. State, 32 N.E.R. 304.

This company is such "an insurance company of another state" as must report to our insurance department, must be subject to its regulation, and must have its agents licensed: Wood's Ry. Law, 578; Ry. v. Penna., 21 Wal. 492; Paul v. Virginia, 8 Wal. 168; Fire Assn. v. New York, 119 U.S. 110.

"Company" does not necessarily mean corporation. It is a much broader term both in its popular and legal sense: Ins. Co. v. Salt & Lumber Co., 31 Mich. 346; Ins. Co. v. Stoy, 41 Mich. 385; People v. Howard, 50 Mich. 239; Green v. People, 21 N.E.R. 605; Powell v. Com., 114 Pa. 265; R.R. v. Cooper, 33 Pa. 278; Cooley's Const. Lim. 187; Burdick v. People, 36 N.E.R. 948; Attorney General v. Guarantee Accident Lloyds, Ohio Supreme Court, unreported; opinion of attorney general of Indiana in similar case.




There is no question involved in the present contention except the question whether the defendant is liable to indictment and conviction under the 47th section of the act of May 1, 1876, P.L. 53. That section reads as follows:

"Section 47. Any person transacting business within this commonwealth as the agent of an insurance company of any other state or government, without a certificate of authority, as required by the act to which this is a supplement, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be sentenced to pay a fine of five hundred dollars, but this section shall not be held to prevent the insurance commissioner from pursuing the remedies provided in the act aforesaid." The remainder of the section is unimportant.

The defendant's contention on the trial was that he is not "the agent of an insurance company of any other state or government," within the meaning of the section, and that the commonwealth had entirely failed to prove that the policy upon which the complaint was based was issued by a company or corporation of this or any other state. The policy in question was undoubtedly a policy executed by one hundred individual persons and contracting for individual liability of all. The point is made in argument that, although the word "company" is used in the act it must be held to mean "corporation" only, upon the plain reading of the act, and we think this proposition is entirely correct. The act of 1876 is a supplement to the act of April 1, 1873 P.L. 20, entitled an act to establish an insurance department, and is itself entitled as follows, "A supplement to an act entitled 'An act to establish an insurance department,' approved the fourth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-three, providing for the incorporation and regulation of insurance companies, and relating to insurance agents and brokers and to foreign insurance companies." The first section of the act provides "that any ten or more persons, citizens of this commonwealth, may associate in accordance with the provisions of this act, and form an incorporated company for any of the following...

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6 cases
  • State v. Alley
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • February 8, 1910
    ... ... 564; State v. Campbell, 17 Ind.App. 443; Barnes ... v. People, 168 Ill. 425; Fort v. Georgia, 23 L ... R. A. 86; Commonwealth v. Reinhol, 163 Pa. St. 287 ... Opposing ... counsel refer to State v. Stone, 118 Mo. 388, and ... State ex rel. Richards, ... People, 168 ... Ill. 425, 48 N.E. 91; Fort v. Georgia, 92 ... Ga. 8, 18 S.E. 14, 23 L. R. A. 86; Commonwealth v ... Reinoehl, 163 Pa. 287, 29 A. 896, 25 L. R. A. 247 ... My view ... of this matter is well expressed in a quotation in the brief ... of the ... ...
  • Commonwealth ex rel. Attorney General v. Samuels
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Supreme Court
    • July 12, 1894
  • State ex rel. Northwestern Engineering Co. v. District Court of Eighth Judicial Dist., Cascade County
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • January 28, 1943
    ... ... 400; Mills v ... Church-well Motor Co., 154 Miss. 631, 122 So. 773; ... Mattox v. State, 115 Ga. 212, 41 S.E. 709; ... Commonwealth v. Reinoehl, 163 Pa. 287, 291, 29 A ... 896, 25 L.R.A. 247; 4 Thompson on Corporations, 3rd Ed., sec ... 3071, p. 869, and cases there cited.) ... ...
  • State ex rel. Nw. Eng'g Co. v. Dist. Court of Eighth Judicial Dist., 8380.
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • January 28, 1943
    ...S.E. 400;Mills v. Church-well Motor Co., 154 Miss. 631, 122 So. 773;Mattox v. State, 115 Ga. 212, 41 S.E. 709;Commonwealth v. Reinoehl, 163 Pa. 287, 291, 29 A. 896, 25 L.R.A. 247; 4 Thompson on Corporations, 3rd Ed., sec. 3071, p. 869, and cases there cited.) This holding is consistent with......
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