Torts II, Pages 662–665
Freehe v. Freehe
Supreme Court of Washington, 1972
Plaintiff sued his wife for negligently maintaining a tractor. All of her farming was completely separate from plaintiff, and he had no interest in it.
Trial court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment based on interspousal tort immunity.
Does interspousal immunity protect defendant?
Interspousal immunity has three bases:
- Unity of marriage
- Traditionally, the Biblical principle of a man and woman becoming one has been followed, although distorted into the man being the one and the woman becoming his chattel.
- In such a modern society, such an outdated concept is not applicable.
- Preservation of peace and tranquility
- Spouses should manage their own peace and tranquility. If they really had peace and tranquility, one would not be suing the other.
- Sufficiency of criminal and divorce laws
- Criminal and divorce laws do not compensate for torts.
The rule of interspousal immunity in personal injury cases is abandoned.
Reversed and remanded.