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SHENANDOAH LIFE INS. CO. v. JORDAN

November 10, 1954

SHENANDOAH LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Albert F. JORDAN, Superintendent of Insurance Department of Insurance of the District of Columbia, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCLAUGHLIN

Defendant, the District of Columbia Superintendent of Insurance, on April 30, 1954, refused to renew plaintiff's certificate of authority and the licenses of its agents in the District. This refusal was based on an opinion of the Corporation Counsel that policies issued by plaintiff might not be in accordance with 35 D.C. Code, § 710(5) (1951 Edition *fn1" ). Defendant offered plaintiff a hearing for the purpose of showing that it was complying with the law or making arrangements to do so in the future. Plaintiff did not accept the hearing offer but instituted the subject action which requested that defendant be ordered to issue a certificate of authority to it and to issue licenses to its agents.

In the present posture of the case there are three motions pending before the Court. These motions are:

 (1) Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction.

 (2) Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

 (3) Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

 The defendant in an effort to determine whether the group policies issued by plaintiff to associations of government employees complied with the statute requested an opinion from the Corporation Counsel on the following question:

 'Whether a group insurance policy issue to an association of Federal employees and which does not insure 75% of the employees of any Federal Department is, nevertheless, in compliance with the section cited if it insures not less than 75% of the members of the association and not less than 50 persons.'

 The conclusion reached by the Corporation Counsel was:

 '* * * as said information relates to associations existing for a principal purpose of insurance and under consideration in this opinion, the question posed by the Superintendent must be answered in the negative.'

 The question before the Court is the intent of Congress in enacting this legislation. It is a well-recognized principle of statutory construction that the terms of a statute should be so construed so as to effectuate the true intent and object of the legislature in the enactment. minor v. Mechanics' Bank, 1 Pet. 46, 64, 7 L. Ed. 47; United States v. American Trucking Associations, 310 U.S. 534, 60 S. Ct. 1059, 84 L. Ed. 1345; United States v. N. E. Rosenblum Truck Lines Inc., 315 U.S. 50, 53, 62 S. Ct. 445, 86 L. Ed. 671.

 In the American Trucking Associations case, supra, the Court in discussing this point, said at pages 542-544 of 310 U.S., at page 1063 of 60 S. Ct.:

 The Act itself contains no definition of the term 'association of Federal employees'. The designation stands alone in the Act without qualification. Thus it appears clear and unambiguous. The word 'association' would not seem, in itself, to call for explanation, nor would the term 'of Federal employees'. When joined the combination of words likewise seems to explain itself. Defendant takes the position that the legislative history of the passage of the bill which resulted in the Act under scrutiny in connection with the instant motion supports his contention that it was the intention of Congress that the word 'association' as used in the Act should be construed, in effect, to be 'an association other than an association organized in order that it's members may obtain insurance.'

 The bill of which this section was a part, H.R. 9178, 73rd Congress was entitled 'A bill to regulate the business of life insurance in the District of Columbia.' The legislative history of the bill contains the following colloquy which occurred in the House of Representatives during the ...


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