Barton v. Bee Line, Inc. – Case Brief
Barton v. Bee Line, Inc., 238 App. Div. 501, 265 N.Y.S. 284 (1933).
Facts: Barton (P) was fifteen years old. Barton claimed that while a passenger of Bee Line (D), a common carrier, she was forcibly raped by a chauffeur employed by Bee Line. The age of consent under the applicable statutory rape statute was 18. Bee Line claimed that Barton had consented.
P sued D and the trial court instructed the jury that P was entitled to recover even if she had consented, although the jury was entitled to factor whether P consented in determining damages. P was awarded $3000 and the court set aside the damages as excessive. P appealed.
Issue: Can a victim of statutory rape recover damages if the intercourse was consensual?
Holding and Rule: No.
The court held that as a matter of public policy, P should not be compensated for a willing participation in that against which the law sought to protect. A female under the age of 18 has no cause of action against a male with whom she willingly consorts, if she knows the nature and quality of her act.