UNITED STATES V. PLESHA, 352 U. S. 202 (1957)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Plesha, 352 U.S. 202 (1957)

United States v. Plesha

No. 39

Argued November 8, 1956

Decided January 14, 1957

352 U.S. 202


Under Article IV of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940, as it stood prior to the 1942 Amendment, former servicemen are not obligated personally to reimburse the United States for its payment of defaulted premiums on their commercial life insurance policies pursuant to requests made by them before the 1942 Amendment that their policies be protected under the Act against lapse during their time of military service and for one year thereafter. Pp. 352 U. S. 203-211.

1. The 1940 Act contained no provision which required reimbursement for premiums paid by the Government on a lapsed policy. Pp. 352 U. S. 204-205.

2. A right of the Government to reimbursement is not to be inferred from the Act or from the common law doctrine that a guarantor who pays the debt of another is entitled to reimbursement. P. 352 U. S. 204, n. 4.

3. The Government's claim for reimbursement is refuted by the legislative history. Pp. 352 U. S. 205-208.

4. The administrative interpretation of the 1918 and 1940 Acts does not support the Government's claim for reimbursement. Pp. 352 U. S. 208-211.

5. A serviceman's liability under the 1940 Act must be determined under that Act, not under the 1942 Act. P. 209, n 17.

227 F.2d 624 affirmed.

Page 352 U. S. 203

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