Tag Archives: Alienation of Affections

Tort/Negligence — Domestic Relations – Alienation of Affections & Criminal Conversation – Civil Practice – Personal Jurisdiction – Phone Calls (access required)

Willis v. Willis (Lawyers Weekly No. 15-16-0750, 16 pp.) (Ann Marie Calabria, J.) Appealed from Moore County Superior Court (Beecher Gray, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Holding: Given the South Carolina defendant’s participation in 140 telephone calls with a North Carolina ...

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Civil Practice – Discovery Sanctions – Contempt – Judges – Subject Matter Jurisdiction – Domestic Relations – Tort/Negligence – Alienation of Affections (access required)

Keesee v. Hamilton (Lawyers Weekly No. 14-07-0755, 18 pp.) (Mark Davis, J.) Appealed from Brunswick County Superior Court (W. Russell Duke Jr., J.) N.C. App. Holding: When the trial court held plaintiff in contempt, the court made all the findings ...

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Tort/Negligence – Alienation of Affections – Mother & Daughter – Civil Conspiracy – Unfair Trade Practices – Emotional Distress – Civil Practice – Statute of Limitations – Rule 11 (access required)

Rushing v. Barron Since North Carolina does not recognize alienation of affection for any relationship other than that of spouses, plaintiff cannot make out a civil conspiracy claim by alleging that her father and brother conspired to alienate her mother’s affection and to convince her mother to exclude plaintiff from inheritance.

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Alienation of affection not just a Carolina thing   (access required)

A Mississippi woman could not explain away 107 cell phone calls to a married man when she tried to set aside an $88,000 jury verdict against her in an alienation-of-affection lawsuit. Alienation of affection as a cause of action is a relic of the past in most states. Of the seven states that still recognize the tort, only in North Carolina and Mississippi do you see the victims of extramarital affairs pursuing such claims with any frequency. In 2009, Melissa Simmons discovered first-hand that Mississippi’s alienation-of-affection law still has some teeth when a Lowndes County Circuit Court jury awarded $88,000 in a lawsuit brought by Chrissy Strickland.

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Heart balm’s constitutionality challenged in federal court (access required)

Claimants, attorneys and supporters have long argued that North Carolina's common-law heart-balm torts are designed to protect and preserve the sanctity of marriage. Hogwash, says Winston-Salem attorney John C. Vermitsky of Morrow Alexander Porter & Whitley. He says the torts are "tools used by vindictive spouses to put a scarlet red letter on their exes' [paramours] after a relationship is long over." Vermitsky said he has statistics that show that the few states that retain the heart-balm torts actually have higher divorce rates than states that don't.

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Does $5.9M verdict show bench trials are best for heart balms? (access required)

The latest large heart-balm award - a bench verdict this time - has North Carolina practitioners debating whether judges or juries are more advantageous for plaintiffs. Pitt County Superior Court Judge W. Russell Duke awarded a jilted spouse $5,896,943, plus $865,150 in prejudgment interest, in a July verdict. Greenville attorney Cynthia A. Mills (pictured) said the facts made it the best heart-balm case she had taken in 21 years of practice.

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