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United States Supreme Court

104 U.S. 106

Koon  v.  Insurance Company

ERROR to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois.

This is an action of debt brought by the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company against Henry H. Koon as principal, and the other defendants as sureties, on a bond in the penal sum of $10,000, conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties as agent of the company. The defendants pleaded nil debet.

It appears from the bill of exceptions that upon the retirement of the jury 'it was agreed by the parties that the jury might, when they had agreed upon their verdict, if the court should not then be in session, sign and seal the same, and deliver the same to the officer in charge and disperse.'

The jury, having agreed upon their verdict when the court was not in session, signed, sealed, and delivered it to the officer in charge, who returned it into court, where it was ordered to be opened and read. It was in the following words and figures, to wit: 'We, the jury, find for the plaintiffs, and fix the sum due on the bond at $7,500, and damages at one cent.' The envelope in which it was enclosed also contained another paper, on which was the following writing: 'The undersigned jury signed the enclosed verdict as a compromise, being the largest amount we can get;' signed by five of the jurors.

Thereupon the court directed the clerk to put the verdict in the following form: 'We, the jury, find the issue for the plaintiff, and find the debt ten thousand dollars, and assess the damages at seven thousand five hundred dollars; the said debt to be discharged on payment of said damages.'

To which action, in ordering the verdict to be opened and read in the absence of the jury and in changing its form, the defendants excepted, and moved the court to correct the entry so as to make it conform to the verdict as returned. The motion was overruled, and judgment rendered on the verdict as recorded. The defendants used out this writ of error.

Mr Robert G. Ingersoll for the plaintiff in error.

Mr. Lewis H. Boutell, contra.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).