Vanderbilt Law Review


Ronan E. Degnan

First Page



The legislatures of the various states of the union have by and large seen fit to forbid actions by an injured party directly against a liability insurer. This limitation, founded upon policy reasons which are doubtless apparent to the reader, has led the interested parties to seek out various indirect or semi-direct methods for reaching the insurance fund. This article is designed to discuss two particularly difficult problems which have arisen because of this semi-direct mode of proceeding: (1) By what appropriate methods can a judgment be obtained against a nonresident tort feasor or his estate so as to create an obligation under the insurance contract? (2) What is the status of such a judgment once it is obtained; will it be enforceable under the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution? So long as the nonresident insured is still alive at the time of judgment, the solutions provided for these problems by the nonresident motorist statutes appear to be quite satisfactory; it has therefore seemed proper to consider that type of situation only briefly. But when the death of the nonresident insured intervenes prior to judgment, a number of practical and theoretical obstacles present themselves. It is these obstacles which form the focal point of the present article, and attention is thus centered upon two types of proceedings--actions against a non-resident administrator, appointed by the insured's domicile; and actions against administrators appointed locally without the approval of the insured's domicile.

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