167 P. 76 (Wash. 1917), 14147, Rieger v. Abrams

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Writing for the CourtPARKET, J.
JudgeELLIS, C.J., and MOUNT, HOLCOMB, and FULLERTON, JJ., concur.
Citation167 P. 76,98 Wash. 72
Date22 August 1917
Docket Number14147.

Page 76

167 P. 76 (Wash. 1917)

98 Wash. 72




No. 14147.

Supreme Court of Washington

August 22, 1917

Department 2. Appeal from Superior Court, King County; John S. Jurey, Judge.

Action by Mattie Rieger against Robert Abrams. Judgment for defendant, and plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

F. W. Crary and Carl E. Croson, both of Seattle, for appellant.

Hughes, McMicken, Dovell & Ramsey, of Seattle, for respondent.


The plaintiff, Mattie Rieger, seeks recovery of damages from the defendant, Robert Abrams, for breach of promise of marriage which she alleges was made by him and accepted by her. Judgment was rendered by the superior court for King county in his favor, denying the relief prayed for by her, upon the facts admitted in the pleadings. The judgment was rendered upon motion made in that behalf, and rested upon the theory that the facts so admitted showed that, in another action prosecuted by her in that court, a [98 Wash. 73] judgment was rendered which became a final adjudication of her rights in the premises. From this disposition of the cause the plaintiff has appealed to this court.

The record before us contains so many pleadings, amendments, motions, and interlocutory orders, both in this action and in the former one (those in the former being

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brought into this one by allegations in the pleadings herein), that we have found it necessary to exercise caution to the end that the real question here for determination be not clouded by irrelevant facts. Let us first notice the real issues ultimately presented by the final pleadings in each of these actions for determination upon the merits, leaving out of mind all preceding pleadings, motions, and orders. We think it will appear as we proceed that the latter are of no moment here.

Appellant in her final amended complaint in this action, after alleging that at all times in question both she and respondent were over 21 years old and unmarried, alleges:

'That on or about the 1st day of August, 1915, at said city of Seattle, defendant proposed marriage to plaintiff, and upon his urgent solicitations, representations to plaintiff, and his request the plaintiff thereafter, to writ, on or about the 15th day of August, 1915, in good faith, accepted said proposal, and she and said defendant thereupon mutually and verbally agreed, in consideration of love and affection, and of reasons aforesaid, to intermarry each with the other, within a reasonable time thereafter, which defendant then and there represented to plaintiff would be as soon as he could arrange his business affairs therefor, not longer than three or four weeks from said last mentioned date. * * * That on or about the 1st day of September, 1915, at the city of Seattle, the defendant, by reason of the relation and confidence which plaintiff had learned to repose in him as aforesaid, and by reason of the affection which she had grown to feel for him, and of their constant association together, and by reason of defendant's promise and their engagement to marry, did then and there by many endearments and solicitations, and under promise of marriage, and by subtly inducing plaintiff to drink intoxicating liquors, to wit, beer [98 Wash. 74] and wine to the extent of stupefying and intoxicating her, and against plaintiff's consent and insistent remonstrance, wickedly seduce, debauch, and carnally know her, and thereafter, by repeated promises of early marriage, induced plaintiff to continue said sexual intercourse with said defendant, whereby she became sick and pregnant with child. * * * That at all times prior to said last-mentioned date, plaintiff had been a chaste and virtuous woman, happy in her self-esteem and the confidence and esteem of her said child and friends, and theretofore having at all times borne an unquestioned reputation for chastity and virtue. * * * That said defendant has disregarded, and still disregards, his said promise of marriage with said plaintiff, and did as aforesaid falsely contrive to and subtly deceive said plaintiff as aforesaid, and has not taken her to be his wife, although reasonable time for the purpose has long since elapsed, and though frequently requested by said plaintiff, said defendant, on or about the ___ day of January, A. D. 1916, positively refused to make his said promises god, he has hitherto refused, and still refuses, to marry the plaintiff. * * * That by reason of said defendant's failure to keep and perform his promise and agreement to marry this plaintiff, she has lost all the advantage and social position which said marriage afforded her, and caused her to suffer great pain, humiliation, mental anguish, and mortification, all to her great damage in the sum of $50,000.'

Respondent in his final second amended answer to appellant's amended complaint, after denying the allegations thereof above quoted, alleges as a second affirmative defense facts showing the commencement and prosecution to final judgment in the superior court for King county of an action by appellant against him as follows: In appellant's final third amended complaint in that action, a copy of which is made part of respondent's affirmative defense in this action, she alleged:

'That on or about the 1st day of September A. D. 1915, at the instance and request of defendant, plaintiff and defendant mutually agreed and were engaged to be married, and each of them was qualified to enter into the marriage relation[98 Wash. 75] with the other; that while so engaged, on or about the said 1st day of September, 1915, said defendant by means of blandishments and protestation of love and affection for her, and her confidence and belief in defendant's fidelity therein, and particularly by promising her that he would within a few weeks marry her, and by subtly and widkedly inducing plaintiff to drink intoxicating liquors, to wit, beer and wine to the extent of her becoming stupefied and intoxicated, did thereby seduce and debauch this plaintiff, and thereby induced her to have sexual intercourse with him, the said defendant, she, at the time of said sexual intercourse having at all times theretofore been of chaste character. * * * That thereafter said defendant continued to maintain illicit sexual relation with said plaintiff by...

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