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Scurko v. St. John Baptist Greek Catholic Church Society

Decided: July 8, 1941.

SUSIE SCURKO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH SOCIETY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from a judgment of the New Brunswick District Court.

For the appellant, Stephen F. Somogyi.

For the respondent, David T. Wilentz.

Before Justices Parker, Donges and Colie.

Donges

The opinion of the court was delivered by

DONGES, J. Plaintiff brought suit in the New Brunswick District Court for the recovery of $500 as a death benefit, alleged to be due her as widow and beneficiary of her husband, by reason of the death of her husband, who, plaintiff alleges, was a member in good standing of defendant society at the time of his death.

The defendant society was organized in 1904 and was incorporated in 1923 under the act for the incorporation of associations not for pecuniary profit. Plaintiff's husband became a member in 1904 and continued to pay dues until January, 1939, when he ceased paying, and on June 15th, 1939, was expelled from membership. At that date, it is alleged he owed four months dues in the sum of $4.40. He died on December 6th, 1939.

It appears that there were no by-laws until 1931. As then adopted, section 25 thereof provides: "The death benefit in the event of death of a brother or sister is $500," &c. Section 26 provides for the monthly payment of $1.10 as dues "60c

is paid for the death benefit fund and 50c for the sick benefit fund." Section 28 provides: "In the event of sickness a member of the society receives $5 weekly sick benefit, if he or she fulfills all duties and obligations by the by-laws * * *."

Prior to the death of plaintiff's husband, religious differences arose in the church with which the society was affiliated and a division occurred, resulting in the establishment of another church of which some members of the defendant society, including plaintiff and her husband, became members.

The certificate of incorporation provides for the operation of the society and provides: "all of which shall be done in accordance with the provisions of the by-laws from time to time adopted by this corporation."

By section 63 of the by-laws adopted in 1931, it is provided: "All members of this society are obliged to pay their monthly collection for the St. John Greek Catholic Church." Section 64 reads "Anyone that does not pay a monthly collection for the church cannot be a member of this society." It appears beyond contradiction that in 1937, 1938 and 1939, ...


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