30 A. 434 (Pa. 1894), 145, Mathies v. Mazet

Docket Nº:145
Citation:30 A. 434, 164 Pa. 580
Opinion Judge:MR. CHIEF JUSTICE STERRETT:
Party Name:B. Matheis v. William Mazet, Appellant
Attorney:F. C. McGirr and J. S. Ferguson, John Marron with them, for appellant Charles A. Sullivan, Joseph Stadtfeld with him, for appellee
Judge Panel:Before STERRETT, C.J., WILLIAMS, McCOLLUM, MITCHELL, DEAN and FELL, JJ.
Case Date:November 05, 1894
Court:Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Page 434

30 A. 434 (Pa. 1894)

164 Pa. 580

B. Matheis

v.

William Mazet, Appellant

No. 145

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

November 5, 1894

Argued: October 26, 1894

Appeal, No. 145, Oct. T., 1894, by defendant, from judgment of C.P. No. 1, Allegheny Co., Dec. T., 1892, No. 648, on verdict for plaintiff. Affirmed.

Trespass to recover damages for alienation of wife's affection and for crim. con. Before STOWE, P.J.

At the trial the evidence for plaintiff tended to show that defendant seduced plaintiff's wife, and that on Nov. 19, 1892, defendant and plaintiff's wife were discovered together in bed in an assignation house, by a detective employed by plaintiff. Defendant testified that he had been solicited by plaintiff's wife but did not have carnal relations with her.

Plaintiff, under objection and exception, gave evidence to show defendant's financial condition. [5, 6]

The court charged in part as follows:

"In this case the alienation is alleged to be the result of the copulation, and before you can find a verdict for the plaintiff here you must be satisfied that there was actual illicit intercourse commenced -- not that they were simply lying in bed together, but that they had actually commenced that which was copulation, even if they were stopped before the whole matter had been accomplished in the natural way. If you believe that then the plaintiff is entitled to your verdict for damages. If you are not satisfied of that under all the testimony, you ought to find a verdict for defendant. But if you do believe it, as I said, the plaintiff is entitled to your verdict, and then the question arises upon what basis you must estimate or calculate those damages.

"[There is no fixed rule, and there cannot be, in compensating a man for a wrong done him by acts of this kind. You cannot measure it by dollars and cents as you would any commodity sold in the market; it has to be determined under all the circumstances by the good judgment of the jury, and they are to take into consideration in that view the social relation of the parties, the apparent affection that existed between the husband and wife, the actual misconduct of the plaintiff who was alleged to be the seducer.]

"I do not think, where a man enters a house under the guise of friendship, and there takes advantage of his position and deliberately seduces a man's wife, that it should be or would be looked upon by a jury in the same way as in a case where a man simply meets a married woman, and she, by insinuations thrown out by her to him, induces him to believe he can have intercourse with her and he does it. I do not think the jury ought to look upon those matters in the same light and find verdicts of damages to the same extent.

"[Nor where a man is poor, although he may be...

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