Monday, May 3, 2010
The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of a case brought by a father against a mother (the two had children together but had never married) for intentional infliction of emotional distress caused by conduct that had alienated the affections of his children. The court found that the cause of action was not barred by the Heart Balm Act. However, the court concluded that public policy that accords consideration of the best interests of children warranted dismissal of this action. The court did allow for the possibility of such a suit in extreme circumstances (such as a false claim of sexual abuse) not present on the facts here and stated:
We are not being asked to solve a law school riddle.
The court concluded that sanctions for frivolous litigation could not be sustained. The legal theory was novel but presented in good faith based on arguments for a modification of existing law. (Mike Frisch)