Enelow v. New York Life Ins. Co.
293 U.S. 379 (1935)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Enelow v. New York Life Ins. Co., 293 U.S. 379 (1935)

Enelow v. New York Life Insurance Co.

No. 47

Argued November 7, 1934

Decided January 7, 1935

Syllabus

1. A decree of the District Court under Jud.Code, § 274b, staying an action at law pending determination on the equity side of an equitable defense to the action, is, in effect, an injunction, and, being interlocutory, is appealable to the Circuit Court of Appeals under Jud.Code, § 129. P. 293 U. S. 381.

2. An application under Jud.Code, § 274b, to stay (i.e., to enjoin) proceedings of a law action until an equitable defense may be heard will not lie if the defense is one which is completely available in the law action. The test is whether the defendant could have maintained a bill in equity on the same averments. P. 293 U. S. 383.

3. In an action brought by the sole beneficiary of a life insurance policy to collect the insurance after the death of the insured, a defense that the policy was procured by false answers in the application, alleged to have been made by the insured with knowledge

Page 293 U. S. 380

of their falsity and fraudulently for the purpose of obtaining the insurance, is completely available in the action at law, and therefore affords no basis for a stay under Jud.Code § 274b. P. 293 U. S. 384.

4. In an action on a life insurance policy in which the plaintiff was its sole beneficiary and in which the defendant insurance company sought the remedy of cancellation upon the ground of fraud in the application, and tendered the amount of the premiums to the plaintiff, held that there was no merit in the company's contention that, because the executors of the insured, who were not made parties, would be entitled to the refund if the defense of fraud prevailed, the remedy at law was inadequate. P. 293 U. S. 385.

70 F.2d 728 reversed.

Certiorari to review the affirmance of a decree of the District Court staying an action at law on an insurance policy to await the hearing of an equitable defense interposed by the Insurance Company.

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