Davis v. Seeley,

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtKINNE
Citation91 Iowa 583,60 N.W. 183
Decision Date04 October 1894
PartiesDAVIS v. SEELEY.

91 Iowa 583
60 N.W. 183

DAVIS
v.
SEELEY.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

Oct. 4, 1894.


Appeal from district court, Lee county; J. M. Casey, Judge.

Action for malicious prosecution. Trial to a jury. Verdict and judgment for plaintiff. Defendant appeals. Reversed.

[60 N.W. 183]

W. B. Seeley, Casey & Stewart, and James C. Davis, for appellant.

O. C. Herminghausen and A. H. Stutsman, for appellee.


KINNE, J.

1. Plaintiff was charged by defendant with having burned an unoccupied dwelling house, the property of defendant.

[60 N.W. 184]

Defendant caused an information to be filed charging plaintiff with the commission of the crime. He was arrested thereon, and, upon preliminary hearing before a justice of the peace, was discharged. Plaintiff then instituted this suit against the defendant for malicious prosecution. On the trial, plaintiff, as a witness, was asked how much of a family he had, what the condition of his family was at the time; also as to having a crippled son, who was under medical treatment, and with whom he sat up nights. Defendant moved to exclude all of this evidence, as being incompetent, immaterial, and irrelevant; a motion being made to each item of evidence separately. The motions were overruled, and exceptions taken. It is said that the only purpose of offering this testimony was to show special damages based upon an injury resulting to the plaintiff's family; that no such claim was made in the petition; and that it could not be entertained, even if pleaded. That this evidence was not admissible for the purpose above stated is clear. Hampton v. Jones, 58 Iowa, 319, 12 N. W. 276. And see, also, Welch v. Jugenheimer, 56 Iowa, 14, 8 N. W. 673;Huggins v. Kavanagh, 52 Iowa, 369, 3 N. W. 409;Bunyan v. Loftus (Iowa) 57 N. W. 687. We think, however, that this evidence was properly admitted. Mental pain and suffering is an element of actual or compensatory damages in this class of cases. Parkhurst v. Masteller, 57 Iowa, 480, 10 N. W. 864. Whatever may, then, legitimately tend to show the character and extent of such pain and anguish, is clearly admissible. It needs no argument to show that one's mental condition may, and generally will, be affected more or less by his immediate surroundings. If, as in this case, a man is arrested and charged with a crime, and he has a family depending upon him for support, one of whom is sick and needing his care, it would be natural that such circumstances should tend to increase his mental anguish.

2. The court admitted in evidence the record of the examining magistrate made on the preliminary examination. Among other things contained therein was a record of the fixing the penalty of the bond at $5,000, and of the order discharging the defendant in that proceeding. The purpose of introducing this record entry, so far as it concerned the bond, was evidently to show that the penalty of the bond was excessive, and therefore the damages should be increased. We do not find that the defendant herein was instrumental in inducing the justice to fix the penalty of the bond. He had no control over that matter. It was within the power of the justice to exact such a bond as he deemed just and proper, and, in the absence of a showing that he was by the defendant herein persuaded to demand a bond in an unreasonable sum, he cannot be charged with responsibility for the act of the justice in that respect. Nor does it appear in this case that the amount fixed as a penalty in the bond could have added to the injury to the plaintiff, as he was never confined in jail, but immediately gave bond, and regained his liberty. Montgomery v. Sutton, 58 Iowa, 700, 12 N. W. 719. The court erred in admitting so much of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
19 practice notes
  • Amos v. Prom, Civ. No. 571.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • September 30, 1953
    ...1897, 100 Iowa 540, 69 N.W. 876, $5,000 exemplary damages permitted where compensatory damages totaled $770.06; Davis v. Seeley, 1894, 91 Iowa 583, 60 N.W. 183; Schwartz v. Davis, 1894, 90 Iowa 324, 57 N.W. 849; Kuhn v. Chicago, M. & St. P. R. Co., 1888, 74 Iowa 137, 37 N.W. 116; Saunders v......
  • Randol v. Kline's, Inc., No. 31260.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 28, 1932
    ...Gas & Fuel Co. v. Wainscott, 91 Okla. 66, 216 Pac. 141; Vanderlinden v. Oster, 37 S.D. 113, 156 N.W. 911; Davis v. Seeley, 91 Iowa, 583, 60 N.W. 183; Doroszka v. Lavine, 111 Conn. 575, 150 Atl. 692. (c) If compared with other malicious prosecution verdicts in Missouri, the verdict should be......
  • Dwyer v. Libert
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • June 30, 1917
    ...v. Sonju, 15 N.D. 518, 11 Ann. Cas. 1173, 108 N.W. 42; Nashville etc. Ry. v. Blackmon, 7 Ala. App. 530, 61 So. 468; Davis v. Seeley, 91 Iowa 583, 51 Am. St. 356, 60 N.W. 183.) In 2 Sutherland on Damages, p. 1316, the author says: "But when exemplary damages are claimed a different question ......
  • Gonzalez v. Chicago Steel Rule Die & Fabricators Co., No. 81-2697
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 14, 1982
    ...appeal has been taken therefrom. 2 As authority, Prosser cites Luby v. Bennett (1901), 111 Wis. 613, 87 N.W. 804; Davis v. Seeley (1894), 91 Iowa 583, 60 N.W. 183; Barnes v. Culver (1921), 192 Ky. 10, 232 S.W. 39; Grorud v. Lossl (1913), 48 Mont. 274, 136 P. 1069; and Restatement (Second) o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Amos v. Prom, Civ. No. 571.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • September 30, 1953
    ...1897, 100 Iowa 540, 69 N.W. 876, $5,000 exemplary damages permitted where compensatory damages totaled $770.06; Davis v. Seeley, 1894, 91 Iowa 583, 60 N.W. 183; Schwartz v. Davis, 1894, 90 Iowa 324, 57 N.W. 849; Kuhn v. Chicago, M. & St. P. R. Co., 1888, 74 Iowa 137, 37 N.W. 116; Saunders v......
  • Randol v. Kline's, Inc., No. 31260.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 28, 1932
    ...Gas & Fuel Co. v. Wainscott, 91 Okla. 66, 216 Pac. 141; Vanderlinden v. Oster, 37 S.D. 113, 156 N.W. 911; Davis v. Seeley, 91 Iowa, 583, 60 N.W. 183; Doroszka v. Lavine, 111 Conn. 575, 150 Atl. 692. (c) If compared with other malicious prosecution verdicts in Missouri, the verdict should be......
  • Dwyer v. Libert
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • June 30, 1917
    ...v. Sonju, 15 N.D. 518, 11 Ann. Cas. 1173, 108 N.W. 42; Nashville etc. Ry. v. Blackmon, 7 Ala. App. 530, 61 So. 468; Davis v. Seeley, 91 Iowa 583, 51 Am. St. 356, 60 N.W. 183.) In 2 Sutherland on Damages, p. 1316, the author says: "But when exemplary damages are claimed a different question ......
  • Gonzalez v. Chicago Steel Rule Die & Fabricators Co., No. 81-2697
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 14, 1982
    ...appeal has been taken therefrom. 2 As authority, Prosser cites Luby v. Bennett (1901), 111 Wis. 613, 87 N.W. 804; Davis v. Seeley (1894), 91 Iowa 583, 60 N.W. 183; Barnes v. Culver (1921), 192 Ky. 10, 232 S.W. 39; Grorud v. Lossl (1913), 48 Mont. 274, 136 P. 1069; and Restatement (Second) o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT