Aetna Ins. Co. v. Hyde - 275 U.S. 440 (1928)


U.S. Supreme Court

Aetna Ins. Co. v. Hyde, 275 U.S. 440 (1928)

Aetna Insurance Company v. Hyde

No. 112

Argued December 2, 1927

Decided January 3, 1928

275 U.S. 440

Syllabus

Rates of all the stock fire insurance companies doing business in Missouri having been reduced uniformly upon consideration en masse of their earnings and a finding of an excessive aggregate profit, as provided in § 6283, Rev.Stats. Mo. 1919, they sued jointly in the state courts to obtain judicial review of that determination upon the ground that the aggregate profits were not excessive, and that the aggregate collections permitted under the reduced rates were so low as to be confiscatory in violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But they did not challenge the constitutionality of the statute if construed, as they contended it should be, to require the superintendent to make his determination on the basis of premiums earned and losses and expenses incurred, and not on the basis of premiums received and losses and expenses paid.

Held:

1 Rates fixed by state authority on the basis of aggregate collections of competing fire insurance companies doing business in the state and which afford just compensation to some of them, but not to others, cannot be attacked by the former under the Fourteenth Amendment upon the ground that they are confiscatory as applied to the latter; nor may the latter prevent their enforcement against the former because of their inability to compete successfully if their own rates were increased. P. 275 U. S. 446.

2. State-made rates do not violate the Fourteenth Amendment merely because aggregate collections are not sufficient to yield a reasonable profit or just compensation to all companies that happen to be engaged in the affected business. P. 275 U. S. 447.

3. Rates will be set aside as confiscatory only in clear cases, and the burden is on the one seeking that relief to bring forward the invalidating facts. P. 275 U. S. 447.

4. The facts relied on to restrain enforcement of such rates should be specifically set forth, and from them it should clearly appear that the rates would deny to plaintiff just compensation and deprive it of its property without due process of law. P. 275 U. S. 447.

5. The complaint does not allege facts to show that the rates were confiscatory as to any company, and it fails to show any

Page 275 U. S. 441

joint interest or right in or to the business covered by the rates or the protection sought to be invoked, or that the Missouri business of each of the companies is so well and economically carried on that all are entitled, as of right protected by the Constitution, to have premiums amounting, in the aggregate, enough to yield a reasonable return or profit to all the companies on all the business carried on; it does not state a federal question. P. 275 U. S. 448.

6. Quaere whether, upon any state of facts, petitioners would be entitled jointly to the constitutional protection invoked. P. 275 U. S. 448.

Writ to renew 315 Mo. 113 dismissed.

Certiorari, 273 U.S. 681, to a decree of the Supreme Court of Missouri, which reversed a decree setting aside an order reducing the rates of the plaintiff fire insurance companies.



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