Reynolds v. Maryland Casualty Co., No. 18208.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtBrown
Citation274 Mo. 83,201 S.W. 1128
PartiesREYNOLDS v. MARYLAND CASUALTY CO.
Docket NumberNo. 18208.
Decision Date02 February 1918
201 S.W. 1128
274 Mo. 83
REYNOLDS
v.
MARYLAND CASUALTY CO.
No. 18208.
Supreme Court of Missouri, In Banc.
February 2, 1918.
Motion for Rehearing Denied and Dissenting Opinion Filed March 5, 1918.
Appellant's Motion to Modify Decree or Decision Denied March 29, 1918.

[201 S.W. 1129]

Appeal from Circuit Court, Audrain County; James D. Barnett, Judge.

Action by George V. Reynolds, administrator of the estate of James W. Reynolds, deceased, against the Maryland Casualty Company. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Affirmed.

This is an action by the administrator of James W. Reynolds, deceased, upon an accident insurance policy issued by defendant and payable to the estate of the intestate. The substance of the pleading is as follows: The petition alleged, in substance, that plaintiff had been duly appointed the administrator of the estate of James W. Reynolds, deceased ; that the defendant was a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Maryland and engaged in the business of insurance; that on the 27th day of November, 1909, the defendant issued and delivered to James W. Reynolds of Chicago, Ill., a policy of accident insurance, by the terms of which it agreed to pay the estate of said James W. Reynolds the sum of $10,000 in case of death by bodily injuries effected directly, independently, and exclusively of all other causes, through external, violent, and accidental means; that said policy provided for the payment of an additional sum in case of renewal; that on account of two annual renewals an additional sum of $1,000 was payable, so that the total amount due on account of the alleged death of James W. Reynolds was $11,000; that said James W. Reynolds paid all the premiums called for by said policy, and performed all the duties incumbent upon him under said policy; that the death of said James W. Reynolds occurred on the 19th day of September, 1911, and resulted solely from bodily injuries effected directly, independently, and exclusively of all other causes through external, violent, and accidental means, to wit, from a gunshot wound inflicted upon him on the day of his death; that defendant was duly notified of said death, and furnished plaintiff blanks upon which to make formal proofs of said death, and plaintiff did furnish said proofs as required by said policy. The answer of defendant contained a general denial and a plea that the policy sued upon, together with the renewal thereof, did expressly provide that suicide, sane or insane, was not covered thereby, and that the death of James W. Reynolds was suicidal within the meaning of said policy; that at the time said policy was issued and delivered to said James W. Reynolds, the latter was a citizen and resident of the city of Chicago, Ill., and that said policy and renewal was issued to and delivered to James W. Reynolds in said city of Chicago from the office of defendant in said city of Chicago, and by an agent of defendant in said city of Chicago, as a part of defendant's business in said city, and that at the time said policy was so issued to said James W. Reynolds the latter represented that he was residing in said city of Chicago, and by the said policy and the said renewals said James W. Reynolds did warrant that such statement was true. The reply of plaintiff was a general denial. There was " judgment for plaintiff for $11,780, the full amount claimed, from which this appeal is taken.

The evidence shows that James W. Reynolds was 32 years old when he died, and had never been married. His father, Hon. George D. Reynolds, with his mother, "sister, and brother, resided together in St. Louis, Mo.; the deceased frequently visited them. He was a young man with college training, good health, of good character in all respects, and fond of athletic sports, of music, and of his family. He was "a mild crank" with firearms, a member of a pistol club, and one of his exercises"in that respect was to throw his pistol in the air so that it would turn over twice, and catch and discharge it as it came down. He entered the service of the Harbison Walker Refractories Company of Pittsburg as salesman in December, 1906, and was with them until his death. He had been rapidly advanced. He first worked from Pittsburg,

[201 S.W. 1130]

then went to Chicago, where he had charge of a large district, and a short time before his death was returned to Pittsburg with a salary of $500 per month. His duties required him to spend a portion of his time in Chicago. He had accumulated considerable property, and was not in debt. His disposition was pleasant. On Monday, September 18, 1911, he was at the office of Harbison Walker Company, where he discussed the business of the company, and told the manager that on the following day he expected to go to Aliquippa, a small town about 15 miles from the city, to visit Jones & Laughlin, a plant located at that place, for the purpose of getting a contract from it.

The deceased was acquainted at the Ft. Pitt Hotel in Pittsburg. They kept what they called a city account with him; that is to say, he frequently came in for lunch and sometimes had a room, all of which was charged to him, and the accounts were rendered in due course. The deposition of Mr. Stewart, a clerk at the hotel, was taken twice by the defendant. The first time he testified that the register containing the entries for September 19, 1911, had been destroyed. In the last deposition, taken after the first trial (there were two trials) he stated that it had been found, and produced a page purporting to contain such entries, and testified in connection with it that the deceased, with whom he was acquainted, but whom he did not recognize by name at the time, came to the hotel at about half past 7 o'clock on the morning of that day and asked him for a well-lighted room on one of the upper floors. No such room was vacant, and he was assigned to room No. 129 on the first floor above the Why, with the understanding that he would be transferred as soon as such a room as he desired should be vacated. He registered the name J. C. Howard, and went to his room, having with him a black grip. This witness saw no more of him. The next day before noon the housekeeper reported that she could not get in room 129, and thought there was somebody in it. The room was opened, and the bathroom door was found to be locked. The pins were removed from the hinges by the house engineer. On entering it the dead body of Mr. Reynolds was found on the floor, half reclining against the wall at the south end next the bedroom, and between the bathroom door and the bathtub. The bathroom was small. Directly opposite the door leading to the bedroom and against the north wall was the washstand. Above it was a glass shelf about five inches wide and two feet long, on which sat the mirror. On the right of the washstand and against the north wall was the radiator, to its left was a commode, and to the left of the commode along the west wall, extended the bathtub. There was much blood on the floor and on the bathtub. A Colt automatic pistol of the model of 1907 lay in the washbowl, the magazine of which contained five loaded shells while two had been exploded. A bullet was embedded in the bathroom door about 5% feet from the floor. There was a bullet mark on the wooden ceiling above the bathtub, which a witness described as a mere spat, and a bullet lay in the bathtub. The wounds upon the body were a bullet hole in the back of the head near the base of the skull; another in the lower part of the forehead between the eyes; another in the flesh of the cheek near the articulation of the lower jaw, which passed through the flesh, and a bullet hole through the collar. On the wound of the cheek were powder marks and burn, a considerable burn, and there were powder marks on the collar. There were no burns or powder marks whatever either on the wound in the front or back of the head. On the table in the bedroom was an open satchel having nothing in it except papers and pamphlets such as were used in describing the products of the Harbison Walker Company and intended to be used in obtaining orders. The hole in the back of the head was small and clean-cut, while that in the forehead was large, and about it the bone was splintered and shattered and the skin torn.

The defendant took in Pittsburg and filed in the cause the deposition of Mr. John P. Black, deputy coroner of Allegheny county, Pa., who viewed the body for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of the death. In answer to the request of defendant's counsel to describe the wounds, he said, without objection, with reference to the one in the head:

"It entered, as I thought, from the rear, about the base of the skull, and came out almost directly between the eyes and forehead. Q. Are you able to state, Mr. Black, by what means those wounds were caused? A. By a revolver. Q. Were they bullet wounds? A. Yes, sir. Q. How do you know that? A. I could not say positively, but think from the appearance they were. * * * Q. And regarding the wound in the back of the head and in the front of the forehead, was that, in your opinion, caused by one or more than one bullet wound? A. One."

This witness was also particularly examined by defendant's counsel about powder marks as follows:

"Q. What was the general appearance of the wound on the cheek and about the collar? A. There were powder marks, if that is what you mean. Q. If there were powder marks about the wound, what was the appearance of those marks with regard to their color and size? A. They were black, and there was a burn. Q. What about the size of the mark? A. You mean the bullet hole or the powder marks? Q. I mean the powder marks that you have spoken of. A. If I recall rightly, they were quite extensive, largest around the hole — I suppose a half an inch or more, scattered. Also powder marks on the collar."

Evidence to which specific objection was made by defendant will be noted in...

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32 practice notes
  • Edwards v. Business Men's Assurance Co., No. 38104.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 15 Diciembre 1942
    ...death was caused by accident to find for plaintiff under the accident insurance policy sued upon herein. Reynolds v. Maryland Cas. Co., 201 S.W. 1128; Brunswick v. Standard Acc. Ins. Co., 213 S.W. 45; Griffith v. Continental Cas. Co., 235 S.W. 83; Trembley v. Fidelity & Casualty Co., 243 S.......
  • Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Prieto
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 6 Abril 1935
    ...(C. C. A.) 73 F. 774; Brunswick v. Standard Acc. Ins. Co., 278 Mo. 154, 213 S. W. 45, 7 A. L. R. 1213; Reynolds v. Maryland Casualty Co., 274 Mo. 83, 201 S. W. 1128. This does not mean that plaintiff must show the fact by direct evidence. It may be proved by proper inferences and presumptio......
  • McAllister v. Terminal Railway Co., No. 27144.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 5 Marzo 1930
    ...254 Mo. 332; Souder v. Railroad, 100 Mo. 673; Settle v. Railroad, 127 Mo. 336; Daly v. Pryor, 197 Mo. App. 583; Reynolds v. Casualty Co., 274 Mo. 83; Briscoe v. Railroad, 200 Mo. App. 691; Hays v. Railroad, 111 U.S. 228, 28 L. Ed. 410; National Biscuit Co. v. Litzky, 22 Fed. (2d) 939, 56 A.......
  • Carter v. Standard Acc. Ins. Co., 4206
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • 24 Junio 1925
    ...Brunswick v. Standard Acc. Ins. Co., 278 Mo. 154, 213 S.W. 45, 7 A. L. R. 1213, and cases cited therein; Reynolds v. Maryland Casualty Co., 274 Mo. 83, 201 S.W. 1128, and cases cited. At that point in the trial plaintiff evidently rested his case, and the defendant sought to prove that the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • Edwards v. Business Men's Assurance Co., No. 38104.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 15 Diciembre 1942
    ...death was caused by accident to find for plaintiff under the accident insurance policy sued upon herein. Reynolds v. Maryland Cas. Co., 201 S.W. 1128; Brunswick v. Standard Acc. Ins. Co., 213 S.W. 45; Griffith v. Continental Cas. Co., 235 S.W. 83; Trembley v. Fidelity & Casualty Co., 243 S.......
  • Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Prieto
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 6 Abril 1935
    ...(C. C. A.) 73 F. 774; Brunswick v. Standard Acc. Ins. Co., 278 Mo. 154, 213 S. W. 45, 7 A. L. R. 1213; Reynolds v. Maryland Casualty Co., 274 Mo. 83, 201 S. W. 1128. This does not mean that plaintiff must show the fact by direct evidence. It may be proved by proper inferences and presumptio......
  • McAllister v. Terminal Railway Co., No. 27144.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 5 Marzo 1930
    ...254 Mo. 332; Souder v. Railroad, 100 Mo. 673; Settle v. Railroad, 127 Mo. 336; Daly v. Pryor, 197 Mo. App. 583; Reynolds v. Casualty Co., 274 Mo. 83; Briscoe v. Railroad, 200 Mo. App. 691; Hays v. Railroad, 111 U.S. 228, 28 L. Ed. 410; National Biscuit Co. v. Litzky, 22 Fed. (2d) 939, 56 A.......
  • Carter v. Standard Acc. Ins. Co., 4206
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • 24 Junio 1925
    ...Brunswick v. Standard Acc. Ins. Co., 278 Mo. 154, 213 S.W. 45, 7 A. L. R. 1213, and cases cited therein; Reynolds v. Maryland Casualty Co., 274 Mo. 83, 201 S.W. 1128, and cases cited. At that point in the trial plaintiff evidently rested his case, and the defendant sought to prove that the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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