This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol4 Torts, Damages, Domestic Relations", by Albert H. Putney. Also available from Amazon: Popular Law-Dictionary.
"Seduction" in its broadest sense means the inducement or incitement to wrongdoing of any kind;110 in its more specific significance it is the wrong of inducing a woman to consent to unlawful sexual intercourse, by the use of some influence, promise, art, or enticement which overcomes her scruples or reluctance.111
"There is a great conflict of authority upon the question of the common law form of action to be brought for seduction. In a number of decisions, case has been approved,112 in others trespass has been held an appropriate remedy;113 and according to some decisions, trespass is the only proper remedy.114 At least one decision takes the view that case, and not trespass, is the remedy if the offense takes place in the house of another person.115 A few authorities approve either trespass or case, holding that trespass lies for the
108 Dress vs. Mallon, 46 Neb., 121; Anderson vs. Beck 64 Miss., 113; Tanenner vs. Morehead, 41 W. Va., 116.
109 For a more complete account of what constitutes an unlawful arrest see Subject of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure in Volume X.
110 Webster's International Dictionary.
111 American & English Ency. of Law Vol. XXV, p. 190: Marshall vs. Taylor, 98 Cal., 55; 35 Am. St. Rep., 144; Robinson vs. Powers, 129 Ind., 480.
112 Clough vs. Tenney, 5 Me., 446; Briggs vs. Evans, 5 Ired. L. (X. C), 16; Fainnount, etc., Pass. R. Co. vs. Stutler, 54 Pa. St., 375.
113 Haynes vs. Sinclair, 23 Vt., 108; Tullidge vs. Wade, Wils. 18.
114 Hobbell vs. Wheeler, 2 Ark. (Vt.), 359.
I15 Clough vs. Tenney, 5 Me., 446. Where the reasoning of the Court was as follows: "The legal ground upon which the parent or he who stands in the place of the parent is permitted to recover damages against the seducer is a supposed loss of service on his part, occasioned by the injury. This being the consequential and not the direct effect of the seduction according to the distinctions now well settled between case and trespass, redress must be sought in the form of an action on the case." direct injury per quod servitium amisit, or case for the consequential damages." 116 117
Historically, it is perhaps more strictly accurate to consider this action as a species of trespass on the case;118 but the subject is more conveniently treated under the head of trespass. Where the action is considered one of trespass, this view is generally sustained by the trespass involved in the entry into the plaintiff's home for the illegal purpose. "Trespass may be maintained where the defendant illegally enters the father's house, and debauching his daughter may be stated and proved as an aggravation of the trespass, although it may not have been followed by the conse-' quences of pregnancy. Where the action is trespass, whether it be followed by pregnancy or not, the illegal entry is considered the gist of the action, and the loss of service, etc., merely as consequential." 119
The action of seduction can never be brought by the woman herself, as she has consented to the act.120 The general rule of the common law is, that the father of the woman seduced is the person who is entitled to bring an action of this character.121 This right continues even after the woman is of age, if she continues to live with her father.122 It has even been held in an extreme case, that this right in the father would exist where the daughter was married and living away from her father;123 this case, however, probably carries the doctrine too far. The after-marriage of the daughter to a third person will not take away the father's right of action.124
116 Woodward vs. Walton, 2 B. & P. N. R., 476; Ditchan vs Bond, 2 M. & S., 436.
117 Encyclopaedia of Pleading and Practice, Vol. XIX, p. 401.
118 "There was no express remedy given by the law to redress the wrong done the parent in the seduction of his child. The special action on the case was, therefore, allowed in this as in other instances where a wrong was done and no 'original writ', would be found in chancery that would suit the circumstances. This form of action was early accepted grounded on the idea that the daughter bore the relation of a servant to the parent; the declaration alleging per quod servitium amisit. Ellington vs. Ellington, 47 Miss., 329.
119 5 Cow (N. Y.), 117.
120 There are one or two very recent cases where the woman herself has been allowed to recover. 121 Kendrick vs. McCrary, 11 Ga., 603; Thompson vs. Young, 51 Ind., 599; Lamb vs. Taylor. 67 Md., 85; Comer vs. Taylor, 82 Mo., 341.
A mother can never sue for the seduction of a daughter during the lifetime of the father;125 but after the death of the father, the action may be brought by the mother.126 The action may also be brought under proper circumstances, by persons standing in loco parentis; thus the action has been maintained by the woman's guardian;127 brother,128 brother-in-law,129 grandfather,130 uncle,131, aunt,132 cousin,133 step-father,134 or father by adoption.135 A master can also recover for the seduction of his servant upon proof of actual damages.136
The right of the parents in such action, is, in fact, based, not upon the relationship in itself, but upon the loss of services.137 Some loss of services must always be proved, but such loss may be very slight or even nominal. After some loss of services have been proved, damages may be given for the disgrace, etc.138 Mere illegal sexual intercourse with a woman is not a sufficient basis for this action. It is said that there must be the use of arts, enticement, etc.139 Exactly what will constitute such arts and enticements, is difficult to ascertain with exactness. Mere praise or flattery is certainly not sufficient, and there must be something more than a mere reluctance on the part of the woman to commit the act.140 Threats of abandonment are not sufficient,141 nor is there any seduction where the woman is influenced by sexual desire or curiosity.142 On the other hand, threats to discharge the plaintiff from her position has been held sufficient.143 A false promise of marriage will sustain this action,144 and generally deceit of any character. Proof of former unchastity may be considered to show that the sexual intercourse was without enticement, artifice, persuasion, or solicitation.145
122 Garreston vs. Becker, 52 111. App.
255; Davidson vs. Abbott, 52
Vt., 570. 123 Harper vs. Luffkin, 7 B. & C., 387, 14 E. C. L. 58. 124 Evans vs. Watt, 2 Ont., 166. 125 Patterson vs. Thompson, 24
Ark., 55; Hobson vs. Fullerton, 4 llI. App., 282. 126 Heaps vs. Dunham, 95 111., 583;
Keller vs. Donnelly, 5 Md., 211. 127 Ball vs. Bruce, 21 111., 161, but guardianship alone is not sufficient. Blanchard vs. lkley,
120 Mass., 487. 128 Paterson vs. Wilcox, 20 W. C.
P.. 385. 129 Ball vs. Bruce. 21 111., 161. 130 Cart well vs. Hoyt, 6 Hun. (N.
131 Emery vs. Gawen, 4 Me., 33. 16
Am. Dec., 233. 132 Manwell vs. Thomson, 2 C. & P.,
303, 12 E. C. L., 136. 133 Davidson vs. Goodall, 15 N. H.,
423. 134 Kinney vs. Langhenour, 89 N. C,
365 135 Bracey vs. Kibbe, 31 Barb. (N.
Y.), 273. 136 Anderson vs. Ryan, 8 lll., 583;
Hourland vs. Hourland, 114
Mass., 517. 137 Bennett vs. Allcott, 2 T. R., 166;
Torrence vs. Gibbins, 48 E. C. Lv 297; Doyle vs. Jessup, 29 lll., 460; Stevenson vs. Belknap, 6 Iowa, 97, 71
Am. Dec.. 392.
138 Simpson vs. Grayson, 54 Ark.,
404; Barbour vs. Stephenson,
32 Fed., 66. 139 Johnson vs. Holliday, 79 Ind.,
151; Hogan vs. Cregan, 6 Robt.
(N. Y.), 138.
140 Marshall vs. Taylor, 98 Cal., 55.
141 Baird vs. Boehner, 72 Iowa, 319. I42 Hawn vs. Banghart, 76 Iowa.
683, 14 Am. St. Rep., 261;
Bradshaw vs. Jones, 103 Tenn.,
331, 76 Am. St. Rep., 655. 143 Brown vs. Kingsley, 38 Iowa,
220. 144 Fleetwood vs. Barnett, 11 Cole,
Am., 77. 145 Stowers vs. Surger, 68 S.W., 637.