less than 1 minute read

Heart Balm Acts


The right to sue for seduction belonged to a father who could bring an action against a man who had sexual relations with his daughter.

At COMMON LAW, the daughter did not ordinarily have the right to sue on her own behalf. A woman who was seduced by a marriage promise could sue for breach of promise if the marriage did not take place. If she became sexually involved with a man due to force or duress, she might be able to bring action for rape or assault. The general rule was, however, that regardless of whether the woman was an adult or a minor, her seduction was regarded as an injury to her father.

In early cases, a father was permitted to be awarded pecuniary damages only as compensation for services that he lost as a result of the seduction. Subsequently, fathers were also allowed to recover COMPENSATORY DAMAGES for medical expenses, as well as damages for distress or sorrow.

Seduction suits are very seldom brought in modern times and have been abolished by some states. One of the primary reasons for this is that they publicize the individual's humiliation.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Health and Safety Commission (HSC) to Hypothetical QuestionHeart Balm Acts - Breach Of Marriage Promise, Alienation Of Affection And Criminal Conversation, Seduction, Limitations On Heart Balm Actions