Negligence – Interspousal Tort Immunity – Action by Wife Against Deceased Husband’s Estate
When the automobile driven by plaintiff’s husband collided with another vehicle, plaintiff’s husband was killed and she was seriously injured and rendered mentally incompetent. Plaintiff’s guardian brought a negligence action for her injuries against the other driver, who impleaded the administrator of her husband’s estate as a third-party defendant. The trial court denied administrator’s pre-trial motion for summary judgment, and subsequently entered judgment against the administrator. On certification, held, affirmed. The doctrine of tort immunity between spouses is based on a policy of preserving domestic peace and harmony and preventing fraudulent collusion against insurance companies, and does not apply where death dissolves the marital relationship and eliminates the opportunity for collusion. Long v. Landy, 171 A.2d 1 (N.J. 1961).