Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Actions between spouses must be barred when the policy reasons for maintaining the doctrine exist, such as the fear of disruption of the family or other marital discord, or the possibility of fraud or collusion. When no such policy considerations exist, the doctrine of interspousal tort immunity is waived to the extent of applicable liability insurance.
Petitioner Mrs. Sturiano was injured in Florida when her husband caused an automobile accident that resulted in his death. Mrs. Sturiano sued respondent, and the trial court granted Mrs. Sturiano a verdict in the amount of the applicable insurance coverage. The appellate court reversed, finding that no insurance coverage was available because the policy was issued in New York, where insurance did not cover actions between spouses unless specifically included in the policy.
Does the doctrine of interspousal immunity bar an otherwise valid claim by an injured passenger whose negligent spouse died as a result of the accident, where the claim is limited to the amount of insurance coverage, the plaintiff is the only party interested in the estate and a guardian ad litem is appointed?
The Florida Supreme Court affirmed, holding that although interspousal tort immunity did not bar the claim under Florida law, a policy made in New York had to be interpreted under New York law, which did not allow the claim.