Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Snyder - United States Supreme Court

Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Snyder

By United States Supreme Court

  • Release Date: 1876-10-01
  • Genre: Law
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Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Snyder United States Supreme Court Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

The contract of insurance, which is the subject of this suit, was effected by Monroe Snyder on his life, for the benefit of his wife. There was a judgment on the verdict in her favor, and the case has been brought here for review. At the trial, the company presented several points, on which, except the answer to the fourth point, the rulings of the court were satisfactory. An exception was taken, which presents the only question open for our consideration. The fourth point on which the request to charge was based is in these words:–– 'The written applications bearing date Sept. 18, 1872, July 9, 1872, and Jan. 10, 1873, signed by the insured, form the basis of the contract of insurance; and the policies were issued to, and accepted by, the insured, upon the express condition and agreement, that, if any of the statements or declarations made in the application should be found in any respect untrue, then the policies should be respectively null and void; and Monroe Snyder, the insured, having, in answer to question No. 17 in each of said policies, which is, 'How long since you were attended by a physician? for what diseases? give name and residence of such physician,' answered, 'Not for twenty years;' while the testimony is unimpeached and uncontradicted, that Monroe Snyder was, in the month of December, 1867, attended several times by Dr. Abram Stout, a physician, for a severe fall upon his head. This answer is untrue, and the policies are thereby rendered void, and the plaintiffs cannot recover upon them.' This proposition is not based on the idea that the answer of Snyder avoided the policy, if a physician attended him for any cause within a period of twenty years. It was easy to raise that question, and ask a specific instruction, which it would have been the duty of the court either to give or refuse. If it had been refused, the plaintiff in error could have brought the question here for the opinion of this court. But the omission of the learned judge to instruct the jury on a particular aspect of the case, however material, cannot be assigned for error, unless his attention was called to it with a request to instruct upon it. Nor is it proper for us to intimate an opinion upon a question not presented by the record, which might arise in some other trial between this plaintiff in error and a policy-holder.

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