in an illegal project, the defendant argues that even if he had done everything charged by the plaintiff that the complaint would still fail to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and that public policy precludes the maintenance of this action.
It is a basic principle of law that a court will not extend its relief to either party when the cause of action is founded upon an illegal or immoral transaction. See generally Nyhus v. Travel Management Corp., 151 U.S.App.D.C. 269, 466 F.2d 440, 447 (1972); Jordan v. Axicom Systems, Inc., 351 F. Supp. 1134, 1135 (D.D.C. 1972). See also Rothblatt v. Nixon, C.A. 74-1080 (D.D.C. Orders of October 23, 1974 & February 4, 1975). This rule applies to tort as well as actions in contract. In Hunter v. Wheate, 53 App.D.C. 206, 289 F. 604 (C.A.D.C.1923) a woman sued her abortionist for, inter alia, negligently performing an abortion on her. The Court held that even though it was not a crime for the female plaintiff to submit to an abortion, having consented to the prohibited operation she was in pari delicto with her abortionist and was, therefore, precluded from maintaining a cause of action. The Court noted that this general principle was most obvious in contract cases, but added: "This rule applies, whether the act is performed in the execution of a contract or not. . . . If the act out of which the cause of action arises is immoral or illegal, the courts will not grant relief." 53 App.D.C. at 208, 289 F. at 606.
Thus stated, this principle is perfectly applicable to the present case. The allegations in the complaint, if taken as true, stain the characters of both the plaintiff and the defendant. The Court will not assist one wrong-doer in taking advantage of another wrong-doer when an illegal or immoral transaction is at the heart of the dispute.
The plaintiff grounds his complaint at least partially on the defendant's "failure to come forward with evidence known to the defendant and exculpatory of the plaintiff" and his giving "false and malicious testimony" at the trial. But it appears that the plaintiff did not even subpoena the defendant to testify in his behalf at the trial. Furthermore, the plaintiff has not attempted to argue that the perjury statute is so inadequate or ineffective as to leave room for a civil action for "gross negligence" in this situation. See Wyandotte Transportation Co. v. United States, 389 U.S. 191, 202, 88 S. Ct. 379, 19 L. Ed. 2d 407 (1967).
In conclusion, there does not appear to be any genuine issue of a material fact presented in this action. Therefore, it is by the Court this 25th day of March, 1975,
Ordered that the aforementioned motion of the defendant for judgment on the pleadings be, and the same hereby is granted.
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