HARTFORD LIFE INS. CO. V. IBS, 237 U. S. 662 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hartford Life Ins. Co. v. Ibs, 237 U.S. 662 (1914)

Hartford Life Insurance Company v. Ibs

No. 213

Argued March 19, 1915

Decided June 1, 1915

237 U.S. 662


To exclude from evidence a decree of the courts of the state in which an insurance company is organized adjudging the rights of the corporation as between itself and members of its mortuary fund and to refuse to enforce the provisions of such decree amounts to denying to it the full faith and credit to which it is entitled under the federal Constitution.

Whether treated as an expectancy or as a contingent interest, the right of the wife to recover from an assessment corporation of which her husband was a member makes her in privity with him, and she is bound by the contracts which he may have entered into with the corporation in regard to the mortuary fund created under contract between the members.

While a mortuary fund made up by contributions from all members may be single, the interest of the members is common, and the proper court of the jurisdiction in which the corporation managing the fund chartered has power to determine all questions relating to its internal management, and the decree of such a court in a suit brought on behalf of all similarly interested establishing the rights of members of the fund is binding upon all members similarly interested, and must be given full faith and credit in the courts of other states in cases between the corporation and such members.

Where a common interest in a fund does exist, and it is impracticable for all concerned to be made parties, it is proper that a class suit should be brought in the proper court of the state in which the corporation managing the fund is chartered, and the decree in such a case is binding upon all the class.

Even if the suit in which a decree in another state is offered is for a different purpose than the one in which the decree was rendered, it must be given full faith and credit and is admissible, and must be regarded as conclusive, as to the right, question, or fact determined, so long as it remains unmodified. Southern Pacific Co. v. U.S., 168 U. S. 48.

121 Minn. 310 reversed.

Page 237 U. S. 663

The facts, which involve the question of whether the state courts of Minnesota gave full faith and credit to a judgment of the State of Connecticut establishing the rights of an insurance company and holders of mortuary assessable certificates, are stated in the opinion.

Page 237 U. S. 665

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