The Lafayette Insurance Company, Plaintiff In Error v. Maynard French, Edward Strong, and Thomas Fine

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCURTIS
Citation18 How. 404,15 L.Ed. 451,59 U.S. 404
Decision Date01 December 1855
PartiesTHE LAFAYETTE INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR, v. MAYNARD FRENCH, EDWARD K. STRONG, AND THOMAS B. FINE

59 U.S. 404
18 How. 404
15 L.Ed. 451
THE LAFAYETTE INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR,
v.
MAYNARD FRENCH, EDWARD K. STRONG, AND THOMAS B. FINE.
December Term, 1855

THIS case was brought up, by a writ of error, from the circuit court of the United States for the district of Indiana.

In 1836, the legislature of Indiana chartered the Lafayette Insurance Company with the usual powers of a company to insure against losses by fire. Their principal office or place of business was at Lafayette, in Indiana, but they also had an office at Cincinnati, in the county of Hamilton and State of Ohio. At the latter place, the agent issued a policy to the defendants in error, to insure certain property against fire, which was afterwards consumed. An action was brought upon the policy in Ohio, the process being served upon the agent, and a judgment was entered against the company. Upon a record of this judgment, an action was brought in the circuit court of the United States, in Indiana, and judgment again entered against the company.

Upon the trial the plaintiffs offered in evidence a copy of the record of the case, as tried in Ohio, to the introduction of which the defendant objected for the following reasons, namely:——

1. Because said judgment record shows and evidences a judgment recovered against 'The President, Directors, and Company of the Lafayette Insurance Company,' and does not show or evidence the recovery of a judgment against this defendant.

2. Because said judgment record does not show or evidence the service of process upon this defendant as required by law, nor the appearance of this defendant by attorney, or otherwise in said action or suit in said commercial court, and that said judgment, as a judgment, is therefore a nullity.

Page 405

3. Because the said judgment record does not evidence the existence of rendition of a judgment in personam against said defendant.

But the court admitted the evidence. Some of the counts in the declaration being upon the policy as well as the record, the plaintiffs then introduced evidence to show the loss, value, &c. of the property insured. Judgment was rendered against the defendants for $2,817.11.

It was argued in this court by Mr. Gillett, for the plaintiff in error, and submitted upon a printed argument by Mr. O. H. Smith, for the defendants.

Pending the argument a copy of a law of Ohio was produced (Ohio General Laws, vol. 45, p. 17) entitled 'An act to authorize suits upon contracts of insurance to be brought in the county in which the contract may be made,' the third section of which provided for the service of process, as in this case.

Mr. Justice CURTIS delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a writ of error to the circuit court of the United States for the district of Indiana, in an action of debt on a judgment recovered in the commercial court of Cincinnati, in the State of Ohio. In the declaration, the plaintiffs are averred to be citizens of Ohio; and they 'complain of the Lafayette Insurance Company, a citizen of the State of Indiana.' This averment is not sufficient to show jurisdiction. It does not appear from it that the Lafayette Insurance Company is a corporation; or, if it be such, by the law of what State it was created. The averment, that the company is a citizen of the State of Indiana, can have no sensible meaning attached to it. This court does not hold, that either a voluntary association of persons, or an association into a body politic, created by law, is a citizen of a State within the meaning of the constitution. And, therefore, if the defective averment in the declaration had not been otherwise supplied, the suit must have been dismissed. But the plaintiff's replication alleges that the defendants are a corporation, created under the laws of the State of Indiana, having its principal place of business in that State. These allegations are confessed by the demurrer; and they bring the case within the decision of this court in Marshall v. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, 16 How. 314, and the previous decisions therein referred to.

Upon the merits, it was objected that the judgment declared on was rendered by the commercial court of Cincinnati, without jurisdiction over the person sued; and the argument was, that as this corporation was created by a law of the State of Indiana, it could have no existence out of that State, and, consequently, could not be sued in Ohio.

Page 406

The precise facts upon which this objection depends, are that this corporation was created by a law of the State of Indiana, and had its principal office for business within that State. It had also an agent authorized to contract for insurance, who resided in the State of Ohio. The contract on which the judgment in question was recovered was made in Ohio,...

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367 practice notes
  • Arrowsmith v. United Press International, No. 73
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • June 11, 1963
    ...13 Pet. (38 U.S.) 519, 588, 10 L.Ed. 274 (1839). For many years, beginning with LaFayette Ins. Co. v. French, 18 How. (59 U.S.) 404, 408, 15 L.Ed. 451 (1856), the received theory, which can be found in Supreme Court decisions as late as Mr. Justice Stone's in Louisville & Nashville R. R. v.......
  • Watson v. Employers Liability Assurance Corporation, No. 6
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • December 6, 1954
    ...an assent on its part to all the reasonable conditions imposed. Lafayette Insurance Co. v. French, supra, page 408 of 18 How. (404), 15 L.Ed. 451; St. Clair v. Cox, supra, page 356 of 106 U.S. (350), 1 S.Ct. 354, 27 L.Ed. 222; Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Spratley, 172 U.S. 602,......
  • Gold Issue Min. & Mill. Co. v. Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co., No. 17298.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 24, 1916
    ...is suable in the courts of the United States established * * * in the manner provided by those laws. Lafayette Insurance Co. v. French, 18 How. 404 [15 L. Ed. 451]; Railroad Co. v. Harris, 12 Wall. 65 [20 L. Ed. 354]; Ex parte Schollenberger, 96 U. S. 369 [24 L. Ed. 853]; Railroad Co. v. Ko......
  • State v. Vandiver
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • May 22, 1909
    ...principles laid down in the earlier cases of Bank of Augusta v. Earle, 13 Pet. 519, 588, 10 L. Ed. 274, and Lafayette Ins. Co. v. French, 18 How. 404, 15 L. Ed. 451. The same rulings were followed in Ducat v. Chicago, 10 Wall. 410, 19 L. Ed. 972, where it was said that the power of a state ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
368 cases
  • Arrowsmith v. United Press International, No. 73
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • June 11, 1963
    ...13 Pet. (38 U.S.) 519, 588, 10 L.Ed. 274 (1839). For many years, beginning with LaFayette Ins. Co. v. French, 18 How. (59 U.S.) 404, 408, 15 L.Ed. 451 (1856), the received theory, which can be found in Supreme Court decisions as late as Mr. Justice Stone's in Louisville & Nashville R. R. v.......
  • Watson v. Employers Liability Assurance Corporation, No. 6
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • December 6, 1954
    ...an assent on its part to all the reasonable conditions imposed. Lafayette Insurance Co. v. French, supra, page 408 of 18 How. (404), 15 L.Ed. 451; St. Clair v. Cox, supra, page 356 of 106 U.S. (350), 1 S.Ct. 354, 27 L.Ed. 222; Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Spratley, 172 U.S. 602,......
  • Gold Issue Min. & Mill. Co. v. Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co., No. 17298.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 24, 1916
    ...is suable in the courts of the United States established * * * in the manner provided by those laws. Lafayette Insurance Co. v. French, 18 How. 404 [15 L. Ed. 451]; Railroad Co. v. Harris, 12 Wall. 65 [20 L. Ed. 354]; Ex parte Schollenberger, 96 U. S. 369 [24 L. Ed. 853]; Railroad Co. v. Ko......
  • State v. Vandiver
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • May 22, 1909
    ...principles laid down in the earlier cases of Bank of Augusta v. Earle, 13 Pet. 519, 588, 10 L. Ed. 274, and Lafayette Ins. Co. v. French, 18 How. 404, 15 L. Ed. 451. The same rulings were followed in Ducat v. Chicago, 10 Wall. 410, 19 L. Ed. 972, where it was said that the power of a state ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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