Hartford Life Ins. Co. v. Blincoe - 255 U.S. 129 (1921)
U.S. Supreme Court
Hartford Life Ins. Co. v. Blincoe, 255 U.S. 129 (1921)
Hartford Life Insurance Co. v. Blincoe
Argued January 20, 1921
Decided February 28, 1921
255 U.S. 129
1. In determining how far a decision of this Court reversing a judgment of a state court binds that court on a second trial, the principle of res judicata that all that might have been decided is presumed to have been decided is inapplicable, and only those matters which were not merely presented and argued here, but actually considered and decided by this Court are foreclosed. P. 255 U. S. 136.
2. Upon examination of the former decision ( 245 U. S. 245 U.S. 146), held that, in determining the scope of the Connecticut judgment there given effect under the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution as upholding the assessment levied by the Insurance Company, this Court did not decide that such judgment sanctioned including in the assessment the amount of a tax which the company thought was imposed by the law of Missouri. Id.
3. In a suit in a state court against a sister-state insurance company on a local contract of insurance, where an assessment on the insured was adjudged void because a few cents had been included in it for a supposed local tax, held that whether such a tax was imposed by the local law and whether, it not being imposed, the assessment was void because of such slight excess were questions of local law upon which the state court's decision was conclusive. P. 255 U. S. 137.
4. A state statute allowing damages and attorney's fees against insurance companies for delay in paying claims, even where there is no proof of vexatious refusal to pay and even in a case where delay seems justified by a company's success in litigation, cannot be said to violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Id.
279 Mo, 316 affirmed.
This was an action to collect life insurance. The defense was that the policy had been forfeited by nonpayment of an assessment due and payable under its terms. The state court held the assessment void because there was included in it, without warrant, the amount of
15 cents to cover a tax of 2 percent to be paid to the state as a tax on the amount of the assessment collected. The decision of this Court involves primarily the scope and effect of its former decision of the case in 245 U. S. 245 U.S. 146.