Multer v. Knibbs

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtSHELDON
Citation79 N.E. 762,193 Mass. 556
Decision Date03 January 1907
PartiesMULTER v. KNIBBS et ux.

193 Mass. 556
79 N.E. 762

MULTER
v.
KNIBBS et ux.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex.

Jan. 3, 1907.


Exceptions from Superior Court, Middlesex County; Loranus E. Hitchcock, Judge.

Action by one Multer against John W. Knibbs and wife. Verdict for defendant, and plaintiff brings exceptions. Exceptions sustained as to defendant John W. Knibbs.


[193 Mass. 557]J. J. Shaughnessy and F. P. O'Donnell, for plaintiff.

Chas. W. Bartlett, Elbridge R. Anderson, and Arthur T. Smith, for defendants.


SHELDON, J.

The verdict for the defendant Lila E. Knibbs was rightly ordered. We find no evidence that anything was done directly by her which trespassed upon the marital rights of the plaintiff; and the presumption of fact by which a husband may sometimes he held to answer for acts wrongfully done by his wife in his presence cannot be so construed as to make her responsible for any of his tortious acts. But somewhat different considerations are applicable to the case of the male defendant.

In a suit of this kind, brought by a husband against the father of his wife, upon the allegations that the defendant has enticed the plaintiff's wife away from him, alienated her affections, persuaded and induced her not to live with him, and has harbored, secreted and concealed her, it is not (as it might be in an action against a stranger) enough to show that the defendant has actually performed the acts charged, and that they have resulted in an abandonment of the plaintiff by his wife. There is a material difference between the acts of a parent and those of a mere intermeddler. Even in the latter case, a defendant may disprove any intent on his part, in advising the wife, to cause a separation, and may show that his advice was honestly given. Tasker v. Stanley, 153 Mass. 148, 26 N. E. 417,10 L. R. A. 468. But the rights and the corresponding duties of a parent are much greater than those of a stranger; and much stronger evidence is required to maintain an action against him. It is proper for him to give to his daughter such advice and to bring such motives of [193 Mass. 558]persuasion or inducement to bear upon her as he fairly and honestly considers to be called for by her best interests; and he is not liable to her husband in damages for her desertion resulting therefrom unless he has been actuated by malice or ill will towards the plaintiff, and not by a proper parental regard for the welfare and happiness of his child. In such an action, the material question is the intent with which the parent acted, rather than the wisdom or even the justice of the course which he took. These questions have arisen in other jurisdictions; and so far as we have been able to discover they always have been answered in the same way. The leading case is Hutcheson v. Peck, 5 Johns. (N. Y.) 196; and the doctrine there laid down has commanded assent. Oakman v. Belden, 94 Me. 280, 47 Atl. 553,80 Am. St. Rep. 396; Smith v. Lyke, 13 Hun (N. Y.) 204; Holtz v. Dick, 42 Ohio St. 23,51 Am. Rep. 791;Westlake v. Westlake, 34 Ohio St. 621,32 Am. Rep. 397;

[79 N.E. 763]

Rice v. Rice, 104 Mich. 371, 62 N. W. 833;White v. Ross, 47 Mich. 172,70 N. W. 188;Tucker v. Tucker, 74 Miss....

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31 practice notes
  • Woodhouse v. Woodhouse
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • October 7, 1925
    ...of the child; that is, if his acts are done in good faith and without malice. The law of the subject is well stated in Multer v. Knibbs, 193 Mass. 556, 79 N. E. 762, 9 L. R. A. (N. S.) 322, 9 Ann. Cas. 958, where the prior decisions are collected. For additional cases, see Roe v. Roe, 315 I......
  • Worth v. Worth, 1881
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 1, 1935
    ...which his wife did under his direction.' Claxton v. Pool, (Mo. Supp.) 197 S.W. 349, L. R. A. 1918A, 512. See, also, Multer v. Knibbs, 193 Mass. 556, 79 N.E. 762, 9 L. R. A. (N. S.) 322, 9 Ann. Cas. 958." In the case of Miller v. Miller, 165 Md. 425, 169 A. 426, some of the conversation......
  • Caverno v. Fellows
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 26, 1938
    ...purpose, was the reason for the interference. See Lukas v. Tarpilauskas, 266 Mass. 498, 499, 165 N.E. 513. See, also, Multer v. Knibbs, 193 Mass. 556, 558, 79 N.E. 762, 9 L.R.A.,N.S., 322, 9 Ann.Cas. 958. In the evidence above recited there is little, if anything tending to show malevolence......
  • Conway v. O'Brien
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • December 31, 1929
    ...Willes, 577, 583; Walker v. Cronin, 107 Mass. 555, 567; [169 N.E. 493]Harriott v. Plimpton, 166 Mass. 586, 44 N. E. 992;Multer v. Knibbs, 193 Mass. 556, 79 N. E. 762,9 L. R. A. (N. S.) 322,9 Ann. Cas. 958. In the consideration of the question whether as against a demurrer the amended declar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
31 cases
  • Woodhouse v. Woodhouse
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • October 7, 1925
    ...of the child; that is, if his acts are done in good faith and without malice. The law of the subject is well stated in Multer v. Knibbs, 193 Mass. 556, 79 N. E. 762, 9 L. R. A. (N. S.) 322, 9 Ann. Cas. 958, where the prior decisions are collected. For additional cases, see Roe v. Roe, 315 I......
  • Worth v. Worth, 1881
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 1, 1935
    ...which his wife did under his direction.' Claxton v. Pool, (Mo. Supp.) 197 S.W. 349, L. R. A. 1918A, 512. See, also, Multer v. Knibbs, 193 Mass. 556, 79 N.E. 762, 9 L. R. A. (N. S.) 322, 9 Ann. Cas. 958." In the case of Miller v. Miller, 165 Md. 425, 169 A. 426, some of the conversation......
  • Caverno v. Fellows
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 26, 1938
    ...purpose, was the reason for the interference. See Lukas v. Tarpilauskas, 266 Mass. 498, 499, 165 N.E. 513. See, also, Multer v. Knibbs, 193 Mass. 556, 558, 79 N.E. 762, 9 L.R.A.,N.S., 322, 9 Ann.Cas. 958. In the evidence above recited there is little, if anything tending to show malevolence......
  • Conway v. O'Brien
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • December 31, 1929
    ...Willes, 577, 583; Walker v. Cronin, 107 Mass. 555, 567; [169 N.E. 493]Harriott v. Plimpton, 166 Mass. 586, 44 N. E. 992;Multer v. Knibbs, 193 Mass. 556, 79 N. E. 762,9 L. R. A. (N. S.) 322,9 Ann. Cas. 958. In the consideration of the question whether as against a demurrer the amended declar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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