Manning v. Insurance Company - 100 U.S. 693 (1879)


U.S. Supreme Court

Manning v. Insurance Company, 100 U.S. 693 (1879)

Manning v. Insurance Company

100 U.S. 693

Syllabus

1. A contract between A. and an insurance company stipulated that for his services as its agent, the company would pay him twenty percent on the ordinary premiums upon all policies for the first year, and "seven and one-half percent for the second and subsequent years of assurance," said allowance to continue for twenty-five years, should the policies remain so long in force. It was also stipulated that he should appoint sub-agents, that all moneys should be promptly remitted to the company on or before the fifteenth day of each month, and that his "commissions should accrue only as the premiums were paid to the company." The company having discharged him from its service, June 2, 1871, brought this suit to recover its moneys in his hands, and introduced evidence that he was indebted to it in a certain amount, and had been properly removed. Among other defenses, he offered to show that a set-off existed in his favor for commissions collected and received by the company from May 1, 1871, to Dec. 23, 1871, and interest thereon. After having made proof of notice to the company to produce the books and papers necessary to show the amount of renewal premiums received by it from policies obtained through his agency during the period mentioned, and the books and papers not being produced, he testified that on June 2, 1871, there were policies in force upon which the annual premiums would be $87,000, as it appeared in his accounts with his sub-agencies, that his annual commissions upon the premiums would amount to $8,391.14, and that computing the amount which would be due to him, accruing between that date and Dec. 23, 1871, they amounted to about $4,754.97. No direct proof was given that any of the policies in force on May 1, 1871, or on June 2, 1871, had been renewed or extended, or that any of the annual premiums becoming payable after those dates had been paid to the company or received by it. The court instructed the jury, in effect, that if A. had been removed from his agency without just cause, they might find from this evidence what amount the company should have

Page 100 U. S. 694

received of renewal premiums, but if they found that he had been justifiably removed, there was no proof for their consideration of the amount of renewal premiums received or collected, in the hands of the company, upon which he was entitled to commissions. Held: 1. that A. had no just ground of exception to the charge; 2. that the burden was on him to prove that the premiums had been actually paid to the company.

2. It is error to submit to the jury to find a fact of which there is no competent evidence.

3. The only presumptions of fact which the law recognizes are immediate inferences from the facts proved.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.



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