Harvey v. Harvey, No. 42.

CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
Writing for the CourtWIEST
Citation214 N.W. 305,239 Mich. 142
PartiesHARVEY v. HARVEY.
Docket NumberNo. 42.
Decision Date06 June 1927

239 Mich. 142
214 N.W. 305

HARVEY
v.
HARVEY.

No. 42.

Supreme Court of Michigan.

June 6, 1927.


Error to Circuit Court, Manistee County; Hal L. Cutler, Judge.

Action by Susan Harvey against John W. Harvey, Jr. Judgment for defendant, and plaintiff brings error. Affirmed.

Argued before the Entire Bench.

Howard L. Campbell, of Manistee, for appellant.

Cornelius Hoffius and Dorr Kuizema, both of Grand Rapids, for appellee.


WIEST, J.

Plaintiff is the wife of defendant and brought this suit to recover damages for injuries she received while riding in an automobile driven by her husband. In the circuit judgment passed for defendant on the ground that a wife cannot maintain an action against her husband to recover damages for an injury occasioned by his negligence. Plaintiff reviews by writ of error.

The question here presented was decided adversely to plaintiff in Bandfield v. Bandfield, 117 Mich. 80, 75 N. W. 287,40 L. R. A. 757, 72 Am. St. Rep. 550, but counsel for plaintiff points to an amendment of the statute after that decision and claims right to maintain the action by virtue of section 12357, C. L. 1915, which provides:

‘Whenever a cause of action shall accrue to, or arise against any married woman, she may sue or be sued in the same manner as if she were sole.'

It is conceded that at common law no such action could be brought and that the common-law rule still prevails, unless abrogated by the quoted statute.

[214 N.W. 306]

The circuit judge, in construing the statute, said:

‘It is my thought that the statute section 12357 relied upon by plaintiff authorizes suits, only, when the cause of action, if any ‘shall accrue to her.’ Plaintiff cannot invoke the aid of that statute in this case because under the common law no cause of action can or did ‘accrue’ to her under like circumstances. There is no statutory authorization for such cause of action in Michigan either express or implied, hence none exists.'

Plaintiff contends for the minority rule supported by Bushnell v. Bushnell, 103 Conn. 583, 131 A. 432, 44 A. L. R. 785;Brown v. Brown, 88 Conn. 42, 89 A. 889,52 L. R. A. (N. S.) 185, Ann. Cas. 1915D, 70;Roberts v. Roberts, 185 N. C. 566, 188 S. E. 9,29 A. L. R. 1479;Fiedler v. Fiedler, 42 Okl. 124, 140 P. 1022,52 L. R. A. (N. S.) 189;Gilman v. Gilman, 78 N. H. 4, 95 A. 657, L. R. A. 1916B, 907;Fitzpatrick v. Owens, 124 Ark. 167, 186 S. W. 832,187 S. W. 460, L. R. A. 1917B, 774, Ann. Cas. 1918C, 772;Johnson v. Johnson, 201 Ala. 41, 77 So. 335, 6 A. L. R. 1031;Harris v. Harris, 211 Ala. 222, 100 So. 333;Prosser v. Prosser, 114 S. C. 45, 102 S. E. 787;Wait v. Pierce (Wis.) 209 N. W. 475.

Defendant contends for the majority rule adopted by this court in Bandfield v. Bandfield, supra, and supported by Thompson v. Thompson, 218 U. S. 611, 31 S. Ct. 111, 54 L. Ed. 1180,30 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1153,21 Ann. Cas. 921; Libby v. Berry, 74 Me. 286, 43 Am. Rep. 589; Maine v. James Maine & Sons Co., 198 Iowa, 1278, 201 N. W. 20, 37 A. L. R. 161;Rogers v. Rogers, 265 Mo. 200, 177 S. W. 382;Lillienkamp v. Rippetoe, 133 Tenn. 57, 179 S. W. 628, L. R. A. 1916B, 881, Ann. Cas. 1917C, 991;Schultz v. Christopher, 65 Wash. 496, 118 P. 629,38 L. R. A. (N. S.) 780;Butterfield v. Butterfield, 195 Mo. App. 37, 187 S. W. 295,197 S. W. 374;Dishon v. Dishon, 187 Ky. 497, 219 S. W. 794, 13 A. L. R. 625;Strom v. Strom, 98 Minn. 427, 107 N. W. 1047,6 L. R. A. (N. S.) 191, 116 Am. St. Rep. 387; Woltman v. Woltman, 153 Minn. 217, 189 N. W. 1022;Keister v. Keister, 123 Va. 157, 96 S. E. 315, 1 A. L. R. 439;Peters v. Peters, 156 Cal. 32, 103 P. 219,23 L. R. A. (N. S.) 699;Oken v. Oken, 44 R. I. 291, 117 A. 357;Austin v. Austin, 136 Miss. 61, 100 So. 591, 33 A. L. R. 1388; In Matter of Badger, 286 Mo. 139, 226 S. W. 936, 14 A. L. R. 286;Faris v. Hope, 298 F. 727;Schultz v. Schultz, 89 N. Y. 644;Heyman v. Heyman, 19 Ga. App. 634, 92 S. E. 25; Smith v. Smith, 29 Pa. Dist. R. 10.

Much learning has been devoted to this question and the decisions contain all that can be said on the subject. By legislation common-law disabilities of the wife have been largely lifted, but lifting a disability does not operate to grant a right of action theretofore nonexistent between husband and wife.

In Austin v. Austin, supra, the action was by the wife against the husband for injuries she received while riding as a guest in an automobile driven by her husband. The court, after listing some of the common-law disabilities of coverture, said:

‘There was no right of action in either the husband or the wife for a personal tort of the other. The wife was without right of action against her husband for any wrong against her estate. The wife's disability to sue the husband was not alone for the lack of a remedy. That was merely incidental. It was...

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29 practice notes
  • Ray v. United States, No. 15601.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 20, 1956
    ...v. Sorrentino, 222 App.Div. 835, 226 N.Y.S. 907; Id., 248 N.Y. 626, 162 N.E. 551; nor would the husband to the wife, Harvey v. Harvey, 239 Mich. 142, 214 N.W. 305; similarly, in a community property state, were the injured party the wife of the driver, see Northern Texas Traction Co. v. Hil......
  • Apitz v. Dames
    • United States
    • Oregon Supreme Court
    • September 9, 1955
    ...is to say--disability was not procedural only. The wife at ancient common law had no cause of action on which to sue. Harvey v. Harvey, 239 Mich. 142, 214 N.W. 305; Wright v. Davis, 132 W.Va. 722, 53 S.E.2d 335; Thompson v. Thompson, 218 U.S. 611, 31 S.Ct. 111, 54 L.Ed. 1180; Libby v. Berry......
  • Courtney v. Courtney, Case Number: 27213
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • October 25, 1938
    ...398); in Maine (Sacknoff v Sacknoff, 161 Atl. 669); in Maryland (Furstenburg v Furstenburg, 136 Aft 534); in Michigan (Harvey v. Harvey, 214 N. W. 305); in Minnesota (Strom v. Strom, 107 N. W 1047, 6 L. R. A. (N. S.) 191); in Missouri (Rogers v. Rogers, 177 'S. W. 382); in Mississippi (Aust......
  • Mosier v. Carney, Nos. 11
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • January 1, 1964
    ...argument that to permit interspousal personal tort suits would rend the gossamer fabric of marital felicity. In Harvey v. Harvey (1927), 239 Mich. 142, 214 N.W. 305, the second case in which our Court considered interspousal tort immunity, a wife passenger sought to recover against her husb......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
29 cases
  • Ray v. United States, No. 15601.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 20, 1956
    ...v. Sorrentino, 222 App.Div. 835, 226 N.Y.S. 907; Id., 248 N.Y. 626, 162 N.E. 551; nor would the husband to the wife, Harvey v. Harvey, 239 Mich. 142, 214 N.W. 305; similarly, in a community property state, were the injured party the wife of the driver, see Northern Texas Traction Co. v. Hil......
  • Apitz v. Dames
    • United States
    • Oregon Supreme Court
    • September 9, 1955
    ...is to say--disability was not procedural only. The wife at ancient common law had no cause of action on which to sue. Harvey v. Harvey, 239 Mich. 142, 214 N.W. 305; Wright v. Davis, 132 W.Va. 722, 53 S.E.2d 335; Thompson v. Thompson, 218 U.S. 611, 31 S.Ct. 111, 54 L.Ed. 1180; Libby v. Berry......
  • Courtney v. Courtney, Case Number: 27213
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • October 25, 1938
    ...398); in Maine (Sacknoff v Sacknoff, 161 Atl. 669); in Maryland (Furstenburg v Furstenburg, 136 Aft 534); in Michigan (Harvey v. Harvey, 214 N. W. 305); in Minnesota (Strom v. Strom, 107 N. W 1047, 6 L. R. A. (N. S.) 191); in Missouri (Rogers v. Rogers, 177 'S. W. 382); in Mississippi (Aust......
  • Mosier v. Carney, Nos. 11
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • January 1, 1964
    ...argument that to permit interspousal personal tort suits would rend the gossamer fabric of marital felicity. In Harvey v. Harvey (1927), 239 Mich. 142, 214 N.W. 305, the second case in which our Court considered interspousal tort immunity, a wife passenger sought to recover against her husb......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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