Civil Procedure I, Page 89

McGee v. International Life Insurance Co.

Supreme Court of the United States, 1957

Facts:

Franklin, a resident of California, purchased a life insurance policy from an insurance company that the Texas respondent bought. The insurance company has never had an office in California. After buying the insurance company, the respondent mailed Franklin to offer reinsurance. Franklin accepted and paid premiums until his death. When notified of Franklin's death, International refused to pay, claiming Franklin committed suicide, which was excluded by his policy.

Procedural History:

California trial court gave judgment for defendant.

Issue:

Can a life insurance company be sued in any state where it offers policies?

Rule:

Having a contract with significant connection to a state is sufficient for due process to be sued in that state.

Reasoning:

  • Defendant offered life insurance policies to residents of California, had contracts delivered there, and received premiums from there. The state has an interest in its citizens having redress when insurers refuse to pay claims and would bear too much of a disadvantage if they were forced to travel to the company's location to sue.

  • Hesch: This is all the contacts the defendant could have had.

Holding:

Yes, a life insurance company be sued in any state where it offers policies. Affirmed.

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