183 F.2d 811 (D.C. Cir. 1950).

A landmark case in the law of torts establishing the wife’s cause of action for loss of consortium.

Prior to this opinion, recovery for loss of consortium was only limited to husbands for tortious injuries to the wives.  The Hitaffer court recognized that “[i]nvasion of the consortium is an independent wrong directly to the spouse so injured.”  The court found no merit in the argument that because loss of material services is the primary element of loss of consortium, the wife, who had no legal right to the husband’s material services, had no cause of action.  The Hitaffer court reasoned that loss of services is only one element of the “conceptualistic unity” that comprises loss of consortium.  The court recognized that “[t]he medieval concepts of the marriage relation to which other jurisdictions ha[d] reverted in order to [deny the wife’s action] ha[d] long since ceased to have any meaning.”  

Today, all jurisdictions have adopted the Hitaffer rationale and recognize loss of consortium as a cause of action available to either spouse.

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