Decedent was the close neighbor of the plaintiff and her husband. While they were absent from home, decedent, at that time a guest in the home, committed suicide in plaintiff's kitchen. When plaintiff opened the door she saw the body, and started to fall but was caught by her husband. A physician to whom she was taken pronounced her condition as one of shock. Subsequently she was restless, nervous and found difficulty in sleeping. She now sues the estate of decedent for damages resulting from what she alleges was the willful act of decedent. The trial court gave a directed verdict for defendant on the ground that the cause of action did not arise before decedent's death and, therefore, there could be no action against the estate under the survival statue. Held: For purposes of the survival statute the cause of action arose before, and survived, decedent's death; therefore, the jury must decide if decedent's act was willful, since if it was, there can be recovery for mental injury caused by fright, even in the absence of other physical injury. Blakeley v. Shortal's Estate, (Iowa 1945) 20 N.W. (2d) 28 (1945).
Samuel D. Estep S.Ed.,
TORTS-DAMAGES FROM SHOCK-LIABILITY FOR MENTAL INJURY CAUSED BY DEFENDANT'S SUICIDE IN PLAINTIFF'S HOME,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol44/iss3/12