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RIDDICK v. FARMERS' LIFE ASSOCIATION.
PITT County. From a judgment for the defendant the plaintiff appealed.
Fleming & Moore, for the plaintiff.
Jarvis & Blow, for the defendant.
MONTGOMERY, J. The defendant is a Benevolent Life Insurance Association, having no capital stock and no stockholders. Its officers are the president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. The secretary alone receives compensation for his services. Two meetings in each year, one in January and one in August are provided for by the Articles of Confederation and the meetings are participated in by such of the members as choose to attend. The policy of insurance is a simple certificate of membership, in which it is agreed that the connection is to continue as long as the annual dues and the assessments are paid, and that upon the death of the certificate holder, the beneficiary shall be entitled to the amount named therein to be raised by an assessment upon all the other members. Each member is required to pay two dollars upon entrance, one dollar as annual dues to be paid at or within thirty days after each annual meeting (for contingent expenses) and such assessments as shall be levied to pay death losses.
The insured entered into the association as a member on the 12th of December, 1899, and paid the initiation fee. He died on December 17, 1901, not having paid the annual dues for 1901. On the back of the certificate of membership, the articles of confederation of the association were printed, one of which reads as follows: "Each member shall pay one dollar as annual dues. The annual dues shall be to defray all contingent expenses of the association. The annual dues must be paid at or within thirty days after each annual meeting." And Article 8 provides that any member who fails to pay dues and assessments, as required, shall forfeit member
RIDDICK V. FARMERS' LIFE ASSOCIATION.
ship and not be reinstated until all delinquencies are paid. The Articles of Confederation do not require notices to be sent out by the secretary to the members for the payment of the annual dues. The secretary however had established a custom of sending out such notices, but there was no evidence that the insured knew of such custom.
It would seem from the above findings of fact made by his Honor by consent, that the insured had forfeited his membership in the Association by his failure to pay the annual dues of 1901. But the plaintiff insists, under a certain one of the findings of fact made by his Honor, to-wit, that at the time of the issuing of the certificate of membership the agent who issued it and solicited for the defendant told the insured that he would have twenty days notice of anything to be paid under the policy, that as it was admited that no notice was sent by the secretary to the insured calling for the annual dues of 1901, the membership and policy of the insured ought not to be forfeited. The contention is that the agreement that the insured should have twenty days notice of anything to be paid under the policy is strong enough to cover the annual dues, as well as assessments to cover losses caused by death. His Honor thought otherwise and we are of the same opinion. We think that the natural construction of the words "anything to be paid under the policy" is such things as are uncertain and to be fixed in the future, as assessments for losses. There was no need for notice to pay the annual dues, for that notice was always with the insured, printed plainly on the back of his certificate of membership. The times of the annual meetings, in which he had the right to participate and was expected to participate in, were also printed in the articles on the back of the certificate, and he was expected to take his annual dues with him to the meeting or to send them within thirty days aferwards in case he did not attend.
RIDDICK v. FARMERS' LIFE ASSOCIATION.
In Bacon's Benefit Societies and Life Insurance, section 389, the author says: "In some associations not consisting of local and grand lodges, a stated sum is to be paid annually or oftener in addition to assessments on death claims for the expenses of the organization. The first class of contributions, of which we have already treated, is called "assessments," the second is known as "dues." The laws of the orders provide that the dues be paid by each member at certain times without notice, and no action of the lodge or its officers is required to make them due and payable. If non-payment of the dues works a forfeiture, the provisions of the laws are to be strictly construed. Non-payment of dues however, if so stipulated, will of itself work a forfeiture." The articles of the defendant association require notices of assessments to be given, but we have seen the difference between the rules governing the payment of annual dues and those governing assessments. The authorities cited by the counsel of the plaintiff bear upon the payment of assessments and not upon the payment of annual dues. The plaintiff's counsel insisted here that his Honor's finding of fact that the defendant's meeting in January of each year and not the meeting of August was the time at which the annual dues were payable, was made without any evidence to support the finding. However that may be that exception was not taken in the court below and we cannot consider it.
We find no error and the judgment must be affirmed.
A person can not maintain ejectment where, when the action was begun, a grant from the State, through which he claimed had not been and could not be legally registered, though it had been registered at the time of the trial under Acts 1901, Ch. 175.
ACTION by John L. Morehead and others, against David B. Hall and others, heard by Judge George H. Brown, at September Term, 1902, of the Superior Court of CARTERET County. From a judgment for the defendants, the plaintiffs appealed.
Simmons & Ward, for the plaintiffs.
MONTGOMERY, J. When this action was commenced on the fourth of September, 1897, the plaintiffs' sole claim to the land in dispute was through an unregistered grant from the State to John Benthall, dated October 30, 1765. At the time of the trial of the action, Fall term, 1902, of the Superior Court of Carteret County, the plaintiffs offered that grant, which had been registered since the commencement of the action, to-wit, on the 24th day of October, 1899, in evidence in support of their title. The evidence was rejected upon the objection of the defendant, and an exception entered by the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs then tendered to the court a complete chain of title from John Benthall to them, and tendered evidence to identify the land in said grant and in the mesne conveyances to the plaintiffs, as the locus in quo, and tendered evidence to show that the defendants were in possession of the locus in quo at the time of the commencement of the action, but stated that they could not show possession in the plaintiffs and those under whom the
MOREHEAD v. HALL.
plaintiffs claimed for a sufficient time in the absence of the grant to perfect title in the plaintiffs. A non-suit was suffered by the plaintiffs on intimation from the court that they could not recover.
The last Act of Assembly extending the time for registration of grants, except the one of 1901 to be hereinafter referred to, was the one of the 27th of January, 1893, the expiration of the time being the 1st day of January, 1894. is to be observed that the registration of the grant was without authority of law, but the plaintiffs contend that the Act of 1901 cures that defect and gives validity to the registration of the grant. That part of that Act which has relation to this case is in the following words: "That all grants from the State of North Carolina heretofore made, which were required or allowed to be registered within a time or times specified by law, or in the grants themselves, may be registered in the counties in which the lands lie, respectively, at any time or times within three years from the first day of January, 1901, notwithstanding the fact that such specified times have already expired, and all such grants heretofore registered after the expiration of such specified time or times shall be taken and treated as if they had been registered within such specified time or times."
It is unnecessary to discuss generally the effect of the Act of 1901 upon the grant itself, for the only question raised by the appeal is whether the grant ought to have been received as evidence in the present action. We are of the opinion that the ruling of his Honor was correct. The rule in this State is that the plaintiff in an action of ejectment, an action for the possession of real estate, must have the title and right to the possession not only at the time of trial, but at the time of the institution of the suit. Arrington v. Arrington, 114 N. C., 116. There, the court said: "This is said by Lawson (Rights and Remedies, Vol. 7, Sec. 3708) to be