Supreme Lodge v. Meyer
Annotate this Case
198 U.S. 508 (1905)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Lodge v. Meyer, 198 U.S. 508 (1905)
Supreme Lodge, Knights of Pythias v. Meyer
Argued April 28, 1905
Decided May 29, 1905
198 U.S. 508
A certificate of insurance on the life of a member residing in New York in a mutual association was executed by the officers in Illinois; it provided that it should first take effect as a binding obligation when accepted by the member, and the member accepted it in New York. It contained a provision that it was to be null and void in case of suicide of insured, and also one waiving all right to prevent physicians from testifying as to knowledge derived professionally. After the insured died of suicide and claimed that §§ 834, 836, N.Y.Code Civil Procedure, under which the court excluded testimony of physicians in regard to condition of deceased, were inapplicable because the policy was an Illinois
contract and also because, in view of the waiver in the certificate, their enforcement impaired the obligation of the contract. Held that:
The general rule is that all matters respecting the remedy and the admissibility of evidence depend upon the law of the state where the suit is brought.
Under the circumstances of this case, the contract was a New York contract, and not an llinois contract.
As §§ 834, 836, of the N.Y.Code of Civil Procedure were enacted prior to the execution of the contract involved, they could not impair its obligation.
In cases of this nature, this Court accepts the construction given by the courts of the state to its statutes, and even if, under § 709, Rev.Stat., this Court could review all questions presented by the record, the judgment should be affirmed.
The facts are stated in the opinion.