Lovelace v. Travellers' Protective Ass'n

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtBarclay
Citation126 Mo. 104,28 S.W. 877
Decision Date22 December 1894
PartiesLOVELACE v. TRAVELERS' PROTECTIVE ASS'N OF AMERICA.
28 S.W. 877
126 Mo. 104
LOVELACE
v.
TRAVELERS' PROTECTIVE ASS'N OF AMERICA.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 1.
December 22, 1894.

ACCIDENT POLICY — DEATH IN A FIGHT.

1. In determining the meaning of the term "accident," as used in an accident policy, the natural and reasonable import of the whole contract must be taken into consideration.

2. One had a policy on his life, the policy containing these words, "$4,000.00 shall be paid in case of death by accident," and "shall be entitled, in case of his death from natural causes, to $100.00," and met his death in a fight in which he voluntarily engaged. Held, that the beneficiary under the policy was entitled to recover as for death by accident.

Appeal from St. Louis circuit court; Daniel Dillon, Judge.

Action by Charles H. Lovelace against the Travelers' Protective Association of America. From a judgment in favor of plaintiff, defendant appeals. Affirmed.

The contract sued upon is contained in the certificate, and certain parts of the constitution of the defendant, as follows: The certificate: "The Travelers' Protective Association of America. This is to certify that Chas. Harris Lovelace, of Jackson, Miss., is an accepted member of the Mississippi Division of the Travelers' Protective Association of America; that he is subject to all its requirements, and entitled to all its rights, privileges, and benefits. Benefits, in case of death, payable to Mrs. Margaret D. Lovelace, his mother. In witness whereof, the association has caused this certificate to be signed by its president and secretary, under the seal of the association, at St. Louis, Mo., this 25th day of March, 1892. [Seal.] Geo. S. McGrew, Prest. Louis T. Le Beaume, Sec'y." From the constitution: "Article IX. Benefit Fund. Section 1. This fund shall be established and maintained out of the annual dues as prescribed in section 1 of article 6, and every member of the Travelers' Protective Association in good standing shall be entitled to the following benefits upon satisfactory proof being presented to the national board of directors. Sec. 2. Four thousand dollars shall be paid to the heirs of any deceased member in case of death by accident; two thousand five hundred dollars in case of the loss of both arms or both legs; one thousand five hundred dollars in case of loss of one hand and one foot; two thousand five hundred dollars in case of loss of one arm and one leg; one thousand dollars in case of loss of one hand or one foot; one thousand dollars in case of loss of one eye; four thousand dollars for loss of both eyes, — provided such death or loss shall occur within three calendar months after the accident which caused it. Sec. 3. Any member who may be disabled by accident in such manner as to be unable to attend to business shall be entitled to draw the sum of $25.00 per week from the association for a term not exceeding fifty-two weeks. Sec. 4. Every member of this association shall be entitled, in case of his death from natural causes, to one hundred dollars, providing that he has been a member in good standing for two consecutive years prior to his death, which sum shall be paid to his beneficiaries upon satisfactory proof being furnished to this association." The other material facts are stated in the opinion.

Henry T. Kent, for appellant. Valle Reyburn, for respondent.

BARCLAY, J.


This is an action upon a benefit certificate, in the nature of an insurance policy, issued to Charles H. Lovelace by the Travelers' Protective Association of America, the defendant, a benevolent association incorporated under the laws of this state. The

28 S.W. 878

pleadings need not be recited, as no point is raised touching the formal presentation of the case. Counsel for both parties, with commendable frankness and brevity, have put the material facts into compact form to facilitate the solution of the controversy. It was submitted to the trial judge, without a jury, upon an agreed statement and depositions. The only question now urged is a question of law. Mr. Lovelace was a member in good standing in the defendant association when he met his death, August 8, 1892. The plaintiff is his mother, the beneficiary in his membership certificate. The contract of insurance is contained in the certificate, and in parts of the constitution of the association, which, counsel mutually agree, control the issue of the litigation. In the statement introducing the report of the case, copies of these documents are given. No point is raised touching proofs of loss, notice, or any formal matter. The defendant meets the case broadly on its merits. The decisive question before us is, was the death of the assured an "accident," within the true meaning of that term as used in the contract of insurance? That question was presented by an instruction that, under the evidence, plaintiff was not entitled to recover, which the trial court refused to give. On the contrary, the court found for the plaintiff, and gave judgment accordingly for $4,119.30 (which included some interest). Defendant then appealed, after the usual preliminaries.

The following facts show the circumstances of the death of Mr. Lovelace: He was a commercial traveler. On the 5th day of August, 1892, he came as a guest to the hotel in Hazelhurst, Miss. He was a friend of the proprietor, and spoke to some member of the latter's family on the porch of the hotel before entering the office. Another man named Graves was in the office of the hotel, making more or less noise, and cursing at times, when Lovelace arrived, about half past 11 o'clock at night. The only witness besides Graves who saw the killing was one Scott. From his testimony it seems that that night the proprietor, Mr. Brown, was sick, and there was no one in charge of the office. Scott was putting in the chairs from the porch, when Lovelace walked in and said, "Who has got charge of the office tonight?" Scott answered, "No one," and that he was going to bed. Lovelace then said, "It looks like somebody ought to be about it"; and Lovelace then turned to Graves, and said, "Look here, young man, you have got to get out of here, drinking and cursing that way," and Graves replied, "What have you got to do with it?" Lovelace answered, "I am a guest at the hotel, and I think a heap of the family; and I think, in the absence of Mr. Brown, it is sorter my duty to see after things." Graves said, "You had better put me out." Lovelace replied, "I will do it in a pair of minutes," and Graves said, with an oath, he would like to see him (Lovelace) put him out. Lovelace said, "I will do that ____ quick." Scott then walked between them, and separated them. Lovelace started up stairs, but it seems that he turned again, and went back to the register. Lovelace then said, with an oath, "Don't you shake your hand in my face." (Graves had made a gesture which Lovelace interpreted as he stated.) They were then a few feet apart. Graves replied,...

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91 practice notes
  • Callahan v. Connecticut General Life Ins. Co., No. 40429.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 8, 1947
    ...85 S.W. 128, 110 Mo. App. 443; Morris v. Equitable Assur. Soc., 102 S.W. (2d) 569, 340 Mo. 709; Lovelace v. Travelers Protective Assn., 126 Mo. 104, 28 S.W. 877; Powell v. Travelers Protective Assn., 140 S.W. 939, 160 Mo. App. 571; Waters v. Merchants Ins. Co., 11 Peters, 213, 9 L. Ed. 691;......
  • Lavender v. Volunteer State Life, Ins. Co, 31374
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 22, 1934
    ...Willis, L. R. A. 1915D, 357; Union Casualty Co. v. Harrall, 98 Tenn. 591, 60 A. S. R. 873; Lovelace v. Travelers Protective Association, 126 Mo. 104, 30 L. R. A. 209, 47 A. S. R. 638, 28 S.W. 877; U. S. Mutual Accident Association v. Barry, 131 U.S. 100; Dent v. Ry. Mail Association, 183 F.......
  • Willard v. Kelley, No. 69347
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • December 4, 1990
    ...763 (1891). 7 See Jones v. United States Mut. Acc. Ass'n., 92 Iowa 652, 61 N.W. 485, 490 (1894); Lovelace v. Travelers' Protective Ass'n., 126 Mo. 104, 28 S.W. 877, 880 (1894); Button v. American Mut. Acc. Ass'n., 92 Wis. 83, 65 N.W. 861 (1896); Furbush v. Maryland Casualty Co., 131 Mich. 2......
  • Ward v. Penn Mut. Life Ins. Co., No. 8000
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • December 20, 1961
    ...Life Ins. Co., supra, 241 Mo.App. loc. cit. 537-538, 244 S.W.2d loc. cit. 617(7, 8). See also Lovelace v. Travelers' Protective Ass'n., 126 Mo. 104, 114, 28 S.W. 877, 879, 30 L.R.A. 209. 6 Mutual Life Ins. Co. of New York v. Distretti, 159 Tenn. 138, 17 S.W.2d 11, 12(3); Winton v. Metropoli......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
91 cases
  • Callahan v. Connecticut General Life Ins. Co., No. 40429.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 8, 1947
    ...85 S.W. 128, 110 Mo. App. 443; Morris v. Equitable Assur. Soc., 102 S.W. (2d) 569, 340 Mo. 709; Lovelace v. Travelers Protective Assn., 126 Mo. 104, 28 S.W. 877; Powell v. Travelers Protective Assn., 140 S.W. 939, 160 Mo. App. 571; Waters v. Merchants Ins. Co., 11 Peters, 213, 9 L. Ed. 691;......
  • Lavender v. Volunteer State Life, Ins. Co, 31374
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 22, 1934
    ...Willis, L. R. A. 1915D, 357; Union Casualty Co. v. Harrall, 98 Tenn. 591, 60 A. S. R. 873; Lovelace v. Travelers Protective Association, 126 Mo. 104, 30 L. R. A. 209, 47 A. S. R. 638, 28 S.W. 877; U. S. Mutual Accident Association v. Barry, 131 U.S. 100; Dent v. Ry. Mail Association, 183 F.......
  • Willard v. Kelley, No. 69347
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • December 4, 1990
    ...763 (1891). 7 See Jones v. United States Mut. Acc. Ass'n., 92 Iowa 652, 61 N.W. 485, 490 (1894); Lovelace v. Travelers' Protective Ass'n., 126 Mo. 104, 28 S.W. 877, 880 (1894); Button v. American Mut. Acc. Ass'n., 92 Wis. 83, 65 N.W. 861 (1896); Furbush v. Maryland Casualty Co., 131 Mich. 2......
  • Ward v. Penn Mut. Life Ins. Co., No. 8000
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • December 20, 1961
    ...Life Ins. Co., supra, 241 Mo.App. loc. cit. 537-538, 244 S.W.2d loc. cit. 617(7, 8). See also Lovelace v. Travelers' Protective Ass'n., 126 Mo. 104, 114, 28 S.W. 877, 879, 30 L.R.A. 209. 6 Mutual Life Ins. Co. of New York v. Distretti, 159 Tenn. 138, 17 S.W.2d 11, 12(3); Winton v. Metropoli......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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