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U.S. Supreme Court

Boseman v. Connecticut Gen. Life Ins. Co., 301 U.S. 196 (1937)

Boseman v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co.

No. 531

Argued March 4, 5, 1937

Decided April 26, 1937

301 U.S. 196


1. In a suit in a federal court in Texas, brought by an employee of an oil company upon a policy of group insurance, issued to the company in Pennsylvania by a Connecticut insurer, it appearing that the insurer had never executed or delivered any contract of insurance of any kind in Texas, that none of the negotiations for the policy had taken place in Texas, that all of the insurer's dealings in connection with the policy were with the oil company, and not with any of its employees, that the company and the insurer intended the law of Pennsylvania to apply, and the policy expressly so provided, and that the employee, in his application for the insurance, made to and filed with the oil company, agreed to be bound by the provisions of the policy, held that the validity of a provision of the policy requiring as a condition precedent to payment, after the termination of employment, of any claim for permanent total disability incurred during the period of employment, notice within 60 days after the termination of the employment was governed by the law of Pennsylvania. Pp. 301 U. S. 202, 301 U. S. 206.

2. The law of Texas, which forbids notice of less than 90 days as a condition precedent to suit upon any contract requiring notice, held not rendered applicable to the policy in question by

(a) The fact that the insurer was authorized to do business in Texas -- it actually had no qualified agents there, and had never executed or delivered any contract of insurance of any kind in that State. P. 301 U. S. 204. chanrobles.com-red

Page 301 U. S. 197

(b) The delivery to the employee in Texas of a certificate, issued by the insurer to the oil company, acknowledging that the employee was insured under the policy. The certificate was no part of the contract of insurance. P. 301 U. S. 203.

(c) The fact that the employee became one of the insured group through the execution in Texas of a payroll deduction order approved by the employer, to compensate the employer in part for its payment of the premium. P. 301 U. S. 202.

(d) The acts of the oil company in obtaining the insurance, receiving applications therefor from its employees, taking payroll deduction orders, reporting changes in the insured group, paying premiums, etc., all of which were done by the oil company not as agent of the insurer, but for and on behalf of itself and its employees. P. 301 U. S. 204.

(e) Arts. 5054 and 5056, Rev.Civ.Stats. of Texas, which are inapplicable to the facts and the question presented in this case. P. 301 U. S. 205.

3. In determining a question as to the construction of an insurance policy, involving only general law, the federal courts are not bound to follow the decisions of the courts of the State in which the controversy arises, but may exercise their own independent judgment. P. 301 U. S. 203.

84 F.2d 701 affirmed.

Certiorari, 299 U.S. 537, to review a judgment reversing a judgment of the district court in favor of the claimant in a suit against the insurance company upon a policy of group insurance. The suit had been removed to the district court from a state court of Texas.


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