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Because interspousal immunity violates the public policy of South Carolina, South Carolina's courts will not apply the lex loci delicti when the law of the foreign state recognizes the doctrine.
Appellant Juanita Boone was injured in an automobile accident in Georgia. At the time, she was a passenger in an automobile driven by appellee, Freddie Boone, her husband. She filed a personal injury action against appellee in South Carolina, where they resided. The trial court dismissed the action, holding that Georgia's interspousal immunity law barred it. Appellant challenged the decision.
Did Georgia’s interspousal immunity apply in South Carolina, thereby barring appellant wife’s personal injury action against her husband?
On appeal, the Court reversed the decision of the trial court, holding that interspousal immunity in personal injury actions violated South Carolina's public policy. According to the Court, it was the public policy of the state to provide married persons with the same legal rights and remedies as unmarried persons. Had the parties not been married to each other, appellant could have maintained her action against appellee. The Court found that it was contrary to "natural justice" to hold that because of appellant's marital status she was precluded from maintaining her personal injury action against appellee. Therefore, the Court refused to apply Georgia's interspousal immunity law.