MUTUAL LIFE INS. CO. OF NEW YORK v. HILL - 178 U.S. 347 (1900)


U.S. Supreme Court

MUTUAL LIFE INS. CO. OF NEW YORK v. HILL, 178 U.S. 347 (1900)

178 U.S. 347

MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK, Petitioner,
v.
GEORGE E. HILL, Ellen Kellogg Hill, Eugene C. Hill, by their Guardian, Eben Smith, and Eliza Maude Hill, in her own behalf.
No. 453.

Argued March 14, 15, 1900.
Decided May 28, 1900.

Messrs. Julien T. Davies, John B. Allen, Edward Lyman Short, Frederic D. McKenney, and Robert C. Strudwick for petitioner.

Messrs. Stanton Warburton, Harold Preston, and Eben Smith for respondents.

Mr. Justice Brewer delivered the opinion of the court:

This case resembles the last three decided, in that it was an

Page 178 U.S. 347, 348

action against the insurance company on a policy whose premiums had not been paid for some years before the death of the insured. The policy was issued April 29, 1886, to George Dana Hill for the benefit of his wife, if living at the time of his death, and, if not, for the benefit of their children. The insured paid the first annual premium, but none thereafter. He died on December 4, 1890. His wife died before him, and this action was brought in behalf of the children. The answer alleged, among other things--

    'That, pursuant to the conditions of the said policy, there became and was due to the defendant, as a premium upon said policy of insurance, on the 29th day of April, A. D. 1887, the sum of eight hundred and fourteen ($814) dollars and the said George Dana Hill and the said Ellen Kellogg Hill, his wife, and each and all of the plaintiffs herein failed, neglected, and refused to pay to the defendant, at the time aforesaid, the said sum of eight hundred and fourteen ($814) dollars or any part thereof, and ever since that time and up to the time of the death of the said George Dana Hill, on the 4th day of December, 1890, the said George Dana Hill and the said Ellen Kellogg Hill, his wife, during her lifetime, and each and all of the plaintiffs, neglected and refused to pay to defendant the said sum or any part thereof, or any other sum or other thing of value whatever; by reason whereof the said policy of insurance became and was on the 29th day of April, A. D. 1887, according to the conditions aforesaid, void and of no effect.
    'That, at a time more than one year from the time of the issuance of the policy mentioned in the complaint, and diring the lifetime of the said George Dana Hill mentioned in the complaint, it was mutually agreed between the defendant and the said George Dana Hill, that the said contract of insurance should be waived, abandoned, and rescinded, and the said George Dana Hill and the defendant then, by mutual consent, waived. abandoned, and rescinded the same accordingly, and all their mutual rights and obligations therein and thereunder.
    'This defendant alleges that the said plaintiffs, and each of them, should be, and are, estopped from, and should not be [178 U.S. 347, 349]




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