CRANDAL V. ACCIDENT INS. CO.
the fit, but by the drowning, so here it was not caused by the insanity or disease, but by the act of self-destruction. In the case of Lawrence there was a policy of insurance against death from accidental injury, which contained the following condition:
"This policy insures payment only in case of injuries accidentally occurring from material and external cause operating upon the person of the insured, where such accidental injury is the direct and sole cause of death to the insured; * * * but it does not inSU1'e in case of death arising from jits, * * * 01' any disease whatever arisin.q before or at the time or fottowin.q such accidental injury, (whether consequent upon such accidental injury or not, and whether causing such death directly or jointly with such accidental injury.)"
. The insured, while at a railway station, was seized by a fit, and fell off the platform across the railway, and an engine and carriages passed over his body al1d killed him. The falling forward of the insured off the platform was in consequence of his being seized with a fit or sudden illness, and but for such fit or illness he would not have suffered injury and death. J., following the authority of Winspear v. Accident Ins. Co., held the company liable. WILLIAMS, J., placed his concurring opinion upon the following grounds:
"The whole case depends on the true construction of the words in the proviso, because in this case the deceased person, having fallen down accidentally in a fit from the platform of the railway on to the rails, was, while lying there, accidentally run over by a train that happened at that moment unfortunately to come up, and he was undOUbtedly killed by the direct external violence of the engine upon his body, which caused his death immediately. The question arises whether, according to the true construction of the proviso, it can be said that this is a case of a death arising from a fit; because, if this death did not arise from the fit, according to the true construction of the policy, the remainder of the clause does not come into existence at all, and is inapplic!tble. It seems to me that the well-known maxim of Lord BACON, which is applicable to all departments of the law, is directly applicable in this case. Lord BACON'S language in his Maxims of the Law, reg. I, runs thus: ·It were infinite for the law to consider the causes of causes, and their impulsions one of another; therefore it contenteth itself with the immediate cause.' Therefore I say, according tothe true principle of law: I must look at only the immediate and proximate cause of death; and it seems to me to be impracticable to go back to cause upon cause, which would lead us back ultimately to the birth of the person; for had he not been born, the accident would not have happened. 'fhe true meaning of this proviso is that if the death arose from a fit, then the company are not liable, even though accidental injury contributed to the death in the sense that they were both causes which opit. That is the meaning, in my opinion, of this erated jointly in proviso. BJ]t it is essential to that construction that it should be made out that the fit was a cause in the sense of being the proximate and immediate cause of the death, before the company are exonerated; and it is not the less so berause you can show that another cause intervened and assisted in the causation. "
Thns it appears that although the proviso in the policy in that case was tbat if the death shonld arise from a fit the company should not be liable, even though accidental injury contributed to the death by v.27F.no.1-4
operating jointly with the fit, it was nevertheless held essential to show that the fit was a cause in the sense of being the immediate cause of death, in order to exonerate the company. Scheffer v. Railroad Co., supra, only has application here by way of analogy. In that case a passenger on a railway car was injured by a collision of trains, and, becoming thereby disordered in mind and body, he, some eight months thereafter, committed suicide. It was held, in a suit by his personal representatives against the railway company, that his own act was the proximate cause of his death, and that,therefore, thore could be no recovery. Although it may be said that Orandal would not have committed suicide had he not been insane, and so that the insanity was a promoting cause of death, upon the reasoning and authority of the cases referred to, the conclusion seems unavoidable that the act of self-destruction must be regarded, within the meaning of the policy, as the true and proximate cause of his death. Quite against my first impressions when the case was submitted, I am constrained to bold, upon deliberate consideration, that the plaiutiff is entitled to recover. If I am wrong in my conclusions, it is a gratification to know that the case is one that may be taken to the supreme court for its judgment, and in which the error, if error has been committed, may be there corrected. Judgment for plaintiff on the verdict.
BROS. 'D. WEST PUBLISHING 00.
(Oircuit Oourt, D. MinnlJ8ota.
CoPYRIGHT-RIGHT OF STATE IN OPINIONS OF JUDGES.
Whether a state, by virtue of the common law, has, or by the copyright acts of congress can acquire, any property right in the opinions of the judges of its supreme court, discussed, but not decided.
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It is in accordance with sound public policy, in a commonwealth where every person is presumed to know the law, to regard the authoritative expositions of the law by the regularly constituted judicial tribunals as public property, to be publIshed freely by anyone who may choose to publish them, and such publication may be of everything which is the work of the judges. The copyright of the volume does not interfere with such free publication, as it protects only the work of the reporter.
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The Iowa statutes of 1873 and 1880, and the contract made with complainant under the authority of the act of 1880, construed, and held that the opinions of the judges of the supreme court of that state are free to all; that the copyright to be obtained for the benefit of the state was intended to protect only the completed volumes; and that no right of complainant is violated by the publication of the opinions by another pUblisher in advance of the official reports. by Robertson Howard, Esq., of the St. Paul bar.