Hughes v. Fetter

257 Wis. 35, 42 N.W.2d 452 (1950)

 

RULE:

The doctrine of comity results in recognition of a decree of a different state not entitled to full faith and credit. It is neither a matter of absolute obligation nor of mere courtesy and good will, but is recognition which one state allows within its territory to legislative, executive or judicial acts of another, having due regard to duty and convenience and to rights of its own citizens.

FACTS:

The minor filed a wrongful death action against an automobile insurer and its insured for a death that occurred in another state. The trial court granted the automobile insurer and its insured a motion for summary judgment and dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the minor alleged that the provision of Wis. Stat. § 331.03 limiting wrongful death actions to those deaths caused in Wisconsin violated U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1 and § 2, cl. 1.

ISSUE:

Did Wis. Stat. § 331.03 limiting wrongful death actions to those deaths caused in Wisconsin violate U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1 and § 2, cl. 1?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The court held that Wis. Stat. § 331.03 did not violate U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1 and § 2, cl. 1 because Wis. Stat. § 331.03 operated in the same way on Wisconsin citizens as it did on the citizens of other states. Because the policy of Wisconsin, as expressed in Wis. Stat. § 331.03, excluded wrongful death actions for those deaths caused in other states, comity did not require that the laws of the state where the death occurred be applied in violation of Wisconsin policy. The court expressly withdrew any statements in any prior opinions that were contrary to the opinion expressed by the court.

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