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01/26/76 BASINGER v. PROVIDENT LIFE & ACCIDENT

January 26, 1976

BASINGER
v.
PROVIDENT LIFE & ACCIDENT INSURANCE CO.



Appeal from Oakland, Farrell E. Roberts, J.

J. H. Gillis, P. J., and Allen and M. J. Kelly, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Equity -- Jurisdiction -- Basis -- Action for Accounts.

A basis for equitable jurisdiction must exist before equitable jurisdiction may be invoked, even where a matter before a court is one of accounts.

2. Constitutional Law -- Trial By Jury -- Previous Jurisprudence.

The Michigan constitutional provision that the right of trial by jury shall remain means the right as it had become known to the previous jurisprudence of the state (Const 1963, art 1, § 14).

3. Equity -- Right to Jurisdiction -- Trial By Jury -- Contracts -- Insurance -- Inadequate Remedy.

The right to have equity controversies dealt with by equitable methods is as sacred as the right to trial by jury, but a beneficiary's right of action on an insurance contract is purely legal and equitable jurisdiction may be invoked only where the common law remedy is inadequate.

4. Equity -- Chancery Courts -- Discovery Powers -- Accountings -- Suit for Sum Certain -- Complex Tracing.

Chancery courts with their extensive powers of discovery and their ability to render accountings are better equipped to handle matters of accounting where the accounts involved are greatly complicated, but a suit for a sum certain due under a policy of life insurance seeks a complete and full remedy which may be granted at law and is not cognizable in equity under the auspices of an equitable accounting irrespective of the purported complexity in tracing premium payments.

5. Equity -- Jurisdiction -- Injunction -- Retaining Jurisdiction -- Accounting -- Specific Sums.

A court which secures equity jurisdiction in a suit for injunction may retain jurisdiction in order to grant alternative relief for an accounting; but an accounting may not be had where the action is for a specific sum due under contract.

6. Equity -- Jurisdiction -- Action for Accounts -- Tests.

The test for the jurisdiction of equity in an action to account is whether the issues are so numerous and so distinct and the evidence to sustain them so variant, technical and voluminous that a jury is incompetent to ...


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