Jeffries v. Mutual Life Ins. Co. of New York
110 U.S. 305 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Jeffries v. Mutual Life Ins. Co. of New York, 110 U.S. 305 (1884)

Jeffries v. Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York

Argued and submitted January 16, 1884

Decided February 4, 1884

110 U.S. 305

Syllabus

K. died in Missouri, in 1871, having a policy of insurance on his life. J. was appointed there his administrator. L. and T., co-partners as attorneys at law, brought a suit on the policy, in which, after a long litigation, there was a judgment for the plaintiff for $13,495, in 1877, in a circuit court of the United States. J. had died in 1873, and C. had been appointed administrator in his place and substituted as plaintiff. The case was brought into this Court by the defendant by a writ of error. Before it was heard here, L. compromised the judgment with the defendant in 1879, receiving in full $9,401.42, and entered satisfaction of the judgment on the record. C. then moved the circuit court to vacate the satisfaction on the grounds that L. had no authority to enter it, and had been notified by C., after the compromise had been made and before the satisfaction had been entered, that he would not ratify the compromise, and that the compromise was unlawful because not authorized by the probate court. The circuit court heard the motion on affidavits and found as a fact that J., while administrator, entered into a contract with L. and T. whereby they agreed to prosecute the claim for a portion of the proceeds, with full power to compromise it as they should please, and that the claim was a doubtful one, and held that the compromise was rightly made, and that the plaintiff was bound by the contract of J. and denied the motion. On a writ of error by the plaintiff,

Held:

1. This Court cannot review such finding of fact, there being evidence on both sides, and the error, if any, not being an error of law.

2. The contract made was not champertous or unlawful, and J. had authority to make it.

3. The contract having given to L. and T. a power

Page 110 U. S. 306

coupled with an interest, the death of J, did not impair the authority to compromise, and C. was bound by it.

4. L., having continued to be a co-partner with T. so far as this case was concerned, had authority to make the compromise without the cooperation or consent of T.

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