Doyle v. Continental Insurance Company

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHUNT
Citation94 U.S. 535,24 L.Ed. 148
PartiesDOYLE v. CONTINENTAL INSURANCE COMPANY
Decision Date01 October 1876

94 U.S. 535
24 L.Ed. 148
DOYLE
v.
CONTINENTAL INSURANCE COMPANY.
October Term, 1876

APPEAL from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of Wisconsin.

The bill of complaint alleges that the complainant, the Continental Insurance Company of the city of New York, is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Connecticut, and a citizen of that State.

That prior to the passage of the act of the legislature of the State of Wisconsin, entitled 'An Act to provide for the incorporation and government of fire and inland navigation insurance companies,' approved March 4, 1870, the complainant had established agencies, opened offices, and made considerable expenditures of money in advertising the business of insurance against loss by fire in the State of Wisconsin. That soon after the passage of said act complainant complied with the provisions of sect. 22 thereof, and procured from the State treasurer and secretary of State the certificates and license to do business in said State as therein provided, and did subsequently fully comply with said act; but that, upon filing appointment of an agent

Page 536

upon whom process of law could be served, complainant was compelled to add an agreement, on its part, not to remove into the Federal courts suits brought against it in the State courts, which agreement to that effect was made. That after the decision of this court in Insurance Company v. Paige, 20 Wall. 445, the complainant removed a suit brought on one of its policies against it in the State court, into the Federal court. That because of such removal a demand was made upon the defendant, Peter Doyle, as secretary of State, to revoke the certificate or license authorizing the complainant to do business in said State of Wisconsin.

That complainant had a large number of agencies in the State engaged in the conduct of its business, and a revocation of its license would work great and irreparable injury to the complainant in its business in said State, and the complainant feared that said defendant would revoke said license, unless restrained by injunction. A temporary injunction was issued restraining the defendant from revoking the license of the complainant, because of the removal of said suit from the State to the Federal court.

A demurrer to the bill was overruled, and a decree entered making the injunction perpetual. From this decree the defendant appealed.

Sect. 22, c. 56, Laws of Wisconsin, 1870, provides as follows:——

'That any fire insurance company, association, or partnership, incorporated by or organized under the laws of any other State of the United States, desiring to transact any such business as aforesaid, by any agent or agents, in this State, shall first appoint an attorney in this State, on whom process of law can be served, containing an agreement that such company will not remove the suit for trial in the United States Circuit or Federal Courts, and file in the office of the Secretary of State a written instrument, duly signed and sealed, certifying such appointment, which shall continue until another attorney be substituted.'

Sects. 1 and 3, c. 64, are in the following words:——

'SECTION 1. If any insurance company or association shall make application to change the venue, or remove any suit or action heretofore commenced, or which shall be hereafter commenced, in any

Page 537

court of the State of Wisconsin, to the United States Circuit or District Court, or to the Federal court, contrary to the provisions of any law of the State of Wisconsin, or contrary to any agreement it has made and filed, or may make and file, as provided and required by section number twenty-two of chapter fifty-six of the General Laws of Wisconsin for the year A.D. 1870, or any provision of law now in force in said State, or may hereafter be enacted therein, it shall be the imperative duty of the secretary of State, or other proper State officer, to revoke and recall any authority or license to such company to do and transact any business in the State of Wisconsin, and no renewal or new license or certificate shall be granted to such company for three years after such revocation, and such company shall thereafter be prohibited from transacting any business in the State of Wisconsin until again duly licensed.'

'SECT. 3. If any insurance company or association shall make application to remove any case from the State court into the United States Circuit or District Court or Federal court, contrary to the provisions of chapter fifty-six of the General Laws of Wisconsin for the year A.D. 1870, or any other State law, or contrary to any agreement which such company may have filed in pursuance of said chapter fifty-six of the General Laws of Wisconsin for the year A.D. 1870, or any other law of the State of Wisconsin, it shall be liable, in addition, to a penalty of not less than $100 or more than $500 for each application so made, or for each offence so committed for making such application, the same to be recovered by suit in the name of the State of Wisconsin; and it shall be the imperative duty of the attorney-general of the State of Wisconsin to see and attend that all of the provisions of said chapter fifty-six of the General Laws of 1870, and the provisions of this act, are duly enforced.'

Mr. George B. Smith for the appellant.

Mr. William Allen Butler, Mr. B. J. Stevens, and Mr. I. C. Sloan, for the appellee.

MR. JUSTICE HUNT delivered the opinion of the court.

The case of Insurance Company v. Morse, 20 Wall. 445, is the basis of the bill of complaint in the present suit. We have carefully reviewed our decision in that case, and are satisfied with it. In that case, an agreement not to remove any suit brought against it in the State courts of Wisconsin into the Federal courts had been made by the company, in compliance with the Wisconsin statute of 1870. The company, nevertheless,

Page 538

did take all the steps required by the United States statute of 1789 to remove its suit with Morse from the State court into the Federal courts. Disregarding that action, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin allowed the action in the State court to proceed to judgment against the company, as if no transfer had been made. When the judgment thus obtained was brought into this court, we held it to be illegally obtained, and reversed it. It was held, first, upon the general principles of law, that although an individual may lawfully omit to exercise his right to transfer a particular case from the State courts to the Federal courts, and may do this as often as he thinks fit in each recurring case, he cannot bind himself in advance by an agreement which may be specifically enforced thus to forfeit his rights. This was upon the principle that every man is entitled to resort to all the courts of the country, to invoke the protection which all the laws and all the courts may afford him, and that he cannot barter away his life, his freedom, or his constitutional rights.

As to the effect of the statutory requirement of the agreement, the opinion, at page...

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171 practice notes
  • State v. Vandiver
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 22 Mayo 1909
    ...claiming under such acts have no right to complain, and are remediless in the premises. In the case of Doyle v. Continental Ins. Co., 94 U. S. 535, 24 L. Ed. 148, the Supreme Court of the United States, in discussing this question, said: "The power to revoke can only be restrained if at all......
  • Markham v. City of Newport News, No. 8216.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 19 Junio 1961
    ...365. 13 Barron v. Burnside, 1886, 121 U.S. 186, 7 S.Ct. 931, 30 L.Ed. 915. 14 Doyle v. Continental Insurance Company, 1876, 4 Otto 535, 94 U.S. 535, 24 L. Ed. 148; Cable v. United States Life Insurance Company, 1903, 191 U.S. 288, 24 S.Ct. 74, 48 L.Ed. 188; Security Mutual Life Insurance Co......
  • National Equipment Rental, Ltd v. Szukhent, No. 81
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 6 Enero 1964
    ...before any controversy has arisen, attempts to restrict jurisdiction to a single court or courts. See Doyle v. Continental Ins. Co., 94 U.S. 535, 24 L.Ed. 148; Insurance Co. v. Morse, 20 Wall. 445, 451, 22 L.Ed. 365; Nute v. Hamilton Mut. Ins. Co., 6 Gray (72 Mass.) 174; 6A Corbin, Contract......
  • Burnet v. Coronado Oil Gas Co, No. 341
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 11 Abril 1932
    ...Burke Construction Co., 257 U. S. 529, 533, 42 S. Ct. 188, 66 L. Ed. 352, 21 A. L. R. 186, overruling Doyle v. Continental Insurance Co., 94 U. S. 535, 24 L. Ed. 148, and Security Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Prewitt, 202 U. S. 246, 26 S. Ct. 619, 50 L. Ed. 1013, 6 Ann. Cas. 317; Pennsylvan......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
171 cases
  • State v. Vandiver
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 22 Mayo 1909
    ...claiming under such acts have no right to complain, and are remediless in the premises. In the case of Doyle v. Continental Ins. Co., 94 U. S. 535, 24 L. Ed. 148, the Supreme Court of the United States, in discussing this question, said: "The power to revoke can only be restrained if at all......
  • Markham v. City of Newport News, No. 8216.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 19 Junio 1961
    ...365. 13 Barron v. Burnside, 1886, 121 U.S. 186, 7 S.Ct. 931, 30 L.Ed. 915. 14 Doyle v. Continental Insurance Company, 1876, 4 Otto 535, 94 U.S. 535, 24 L. Ed. 148; Cable v. United States Life Insurance Company, 1903, 191 U.S. 288, 24 S.Ct. 74, 48 L.Ed. 188; Security Mutual Life Insurance Co......
  • National Equipment Rental, Ltd v. Szukhent, No. 81
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 6 Enero 1964
    ...before any controversy has arisen, attempts to restrict jurisdiction to a single court or courts. See Doyle v. Continental Ins. Co., 94 U.S. 535, 24 L.Ed. 148; Insurance Co. v. Morse, 20 Wall. 445, 451, 22 L.Ed. 365; Nute v. Hamilton Mut. Ins. Co., 6 Gray (72 Mass.) 174; 6A Corbin, Contract......
  • Burnet v. Coronado Oil Gas Co, No. 341
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 11 Abril 1932
    ...Burke Construction Co., 257 U. S. 529, 533, 42 S. Ct. 188, 66 L. Ed. 352, 21 A. L. R. 186, overruling Doyle v. Continental Insurance Co., 94 U. S. 535, 24 L. Ed. 148, and Security Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Prewitt, 202 U. S. 246, 26 S. Ct. 619, 50 L. Ed. 1013, 6 Ann. Cas. 317; Pennsylvan......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • VESTED RIGHTS, "FRANCHISES," AND THE SEPARATION OF POWERS.
    • United States
    • University of Pennsylvania Law Review Vol. 169 Nbr. 5, April 2021
    • 1 Abril 2021
    ...the books...are not to be reconciled satisfactorily with the principles there enunciated"). (642) See Doyle v. Continental Ins. Co., 94 U.S. 535, 543 (1877) (Bradley, J., dissenting); see also Caleb Nelson, Judicial Review of Legislative Purpose, 83 N.Y.U. L. REV. 1784, 1863-66 (2008) ......

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