Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Barton v. Bee Line, Inc. case brief

Barton v. Bee Line, Inc. case brief summary
265 N.Y.S. 284 (1933)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff passenger sought review of an order of the Supreme Court in Nassau County (New York) that set aside a verdict in her favor and ordered a new trial in an action against defendant chauffeur alleging that she was raped while in his vehicle.

CASE FACTS
The passenger filed an action against a chauffeur claiming that she was raped while a passenger. The chauffeur testified that the passenger had consented to the sexual relations. The jury was instructed that if the passenger was assaulted while a passenger, she was entitled to recover because the chauffeur would have been liable in damages for failure to perform its duty as a common carrier. A verdict was returned in the passenger's favor and subsequently set aside by the trial court and a new trial ordered.

DISCUSSION

  • Upon review of the decision, the court held that it was error for the trial court to have instructed the jury that the passenger was entitled to a verdict even if she consented to consort with the chauffeur. 
  • The court held that a person who perpetrated an act of sexual intercourse with a female, not his wife, under the age of 18 years, under circumstances not amounting to rape in the first degree, would be guilty of rape in the second degree. 
  • However, a female under 18 years had no cause of action against a male with whom she willingly consorted if she knew the nature and quality of her act. 
  • The court held that the order should be affirmed.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the decision of the trial court setting aside a verdict for the passenger who alleged she was raped while in the car of the chauffeur and ordering a new trial.

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