McKelvey v. McKelvey

CourtSupreme Court of Tennessee
Writing for the CourtBeard
Citation77 S.W. 664
PartiesMcKELVEY v. McKELVEY et al.
Decision Date14 November 1903

Page 664

77 S.W. 664
McKELVEY
v.
McKELVEY et al.
Supreme Court of Tennessee.
November 14, 1903.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Marion County; M. M. Allison, Judge.

Action by Nellie McKelvey, by her next friend, against W. J. McKelvey and another. Judgment for defendants, and plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

B. A. Heard and C. C. Moore, for appellant. B. Pope, J. Bright, and Tatum Thach, for appellees.

BEARD, C. J.


This is a suit instituted by a minor child, by next friend, against her father and stepmother, seeking to recover damages for cruel and inhuman treatment alleged to have been inflicted upon her by the latter at the instance and with the consent of the father. Upon demurrer the suit was dismissed, and, the case being properly brought to this court, error is assigned upon this action of the trial judge.

We think there was no error in this dismissal. At common law the right of the father to the control and custody of his infant child grew out of the corresponding duty on his part to maintain, protect, and educate it. These rights could only be forfeited by gross misconduct on his part. The right to control involved the subordinate right to restrain and inflict moderate chastisement upon the child. In case parental power was abused, the child had no civil remedy against the father for the personal injuries inflicted. Whatever redress was afforded in such case was to be found in an appeal to the criminal law and in the remedy furnished by the writ of habeas corpus. So far as we can discover, this rule of the common law has never been questioned in any of the courts of this country, and certainly no such action as the present has been maintained in these courts. It is true that no less celebrated an authority than Judge Cooley, in the second edition of his work on Torts, at page 171, observes that "in principle there seems to be no reason it should not be sustained." No case, however, is cited in support of this text. In fact, the only case which the diligence of counsel has been able to find in which this particular question has been discussed is that of Hewlett v. George, Ex'r, reported in 68 Miss. 703, 9 South. 885, 13 L. R. A. 682. It is there said: "So long as the parent is under obligation to care for, guide, and control, and the child is under reciprocal obligation to aid and comfort and obey, no such action as this can be maintained. The peace of society, and of the families composing society, and of a sound public policy...

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111 practice notes
  • Rousey v. Rousey, No. 84-669.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • June 23, 1987
    ...242, 79 P. 788 (1905), or a brutal beating, Cook v. Cook, 232 Mo.App. 994, 124 S.W.2d 675 (1939); McKelvey v. McKelvey, 111 Tenn. 388, 77 S.W. 664 (1903), or when the parent-child relationship has been terminated by death before the suit was filed. Lasecki v. Kabara, 235 Wis. 645, 294 N.W. ......
  • Barlow v. Iblings, No. 52664
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 6, 1968
    ...wrong-doing, and this is all the child can be heard to demand.' This decision was followed in 1903 by McKelvey v. McKelvey, 111 Tenn. 388, 77 S.W. 664, 64 L.R.A. 991, and later by Roller v. Roller, 37 Wash. 242, 79 P. 788, 68 L.R.A. 893, 107 Am.St.Rep. 805. All of these were extreme cases a......
  • Zellmer v. Zellmer, No. 78852-9.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 24, 2008
    ...conduct. See, e.g., Roller v. Roller, 37 Wash. 242, 79 P. 788 (1905) (father raped daughter); McKelvey v. McKelvey, 111 Tenn. 388, 77 S.W. 664 (1903) (stepmother inflicted cruel and inhumane treatment on stepson); Hewellette v. George, 68 Miss. 703, 9 So. 885 (1891) (mother falsely imprison......
  • Downs v. Poulin
    • United States
    • Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • January 11, 1966
    ...Hastings v. Hastings, 33 N.J. 247, 163 A.2d 147; Reingold v. Reingold, 115 N.J.L. 532, 181 A. 153; McKelvey v. McKelvey, 111 Tenn. 388, 77 S.W. 664, 64 L.R.A. 991; Ball v. Ball, 73 Wyo. 29, 269 P.2d 302; Villaret v. Villaret, 83 U.S.App.D.C. 311, 169 F.2d 677; Schneider v. Schneider, 160 Md......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
111 cases
  • Rousey v. Rousey, No. 84-669.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • June 23, 1987
    ...242, 79 P. 788 (1905), or a brutal beating, Cook v. Cook, 232 Mo.App. 994, 124 S.W.2d 675 (1939); McKelvey v. McKelvey, 111 Tenn. 388, 77 S.W. 664 (1903), or when the parent-child relationship has been terminated by death before the suit was filed. Lasecki v. Kabara, 235 Wis. 645, 294 N.W. ......
  • Barlow v. Iblings, No. 52664
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 6, 1968
    ...wrong-doing, and this is all the child can be heard to demand.' This decision was followed in 1903 by McKelvey v. McKelvey, 111 Tenn. 388, 77 S.W. 664, 64 L.R.A. 991, and later by Roller v. Roller, 37 Wash. 242, 79 P. 788, 68 L.R.A. 893, 107 Am.St.Rep. 805. All of these were extreme cases a......
  • Zellmer v. Zellmer, No. 78852-9.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 24, 2008
    ...conduct. See, e.g., Roller v. Roller, 37 Wash. 242, 79 P. 788 (1905) (father raped daughter); McKelvey v. McKelvey, 111 Tenn. 388, 77 S.W. 664 (1903) (stepmother inflicted cruel and inhumane treatment on stepson); Hewellette v. George, 68 Miss. 703, 9 So. 885 (1891) (mother falsely imprison......
  • Downs v. Poulin
    • United States
    • Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • January 11, 1966
    ...Hastings v. Hastings, 33 N.J. 247, 163 A.2d 147; Reingold v. Reingold, 115 N.J.L. 532, 181 A. 153; McKelvey v. McKelvey, 111 Tenn. 388, 77 S.W. 664, 64 L.R.A. 991; Ball v. Ball, 73 Wyo. 29, 269 P.2d 302; Villaret v. Villaret, 83 U.S.App.D.C. 311, 169 F.2d 677; Schneider v. Schneider, 160 Md......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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