Saturday, November 17, 2007
I posted on the justification for the heart balm torts yesterday. Along with the direct issues involved in deciding, say, alienation of affections cases, the few states retaining the heart balm torts face subsidiary issues such as insurance coverage. One would imagine such issues had been decided long ago. Not necessarily the case.
In late October, the Supreme Court of South Dakota decided a case in which the issue was whether a personal liability umbrella policy provided coverage for an alienation of affections suit. The answer was a resounding "no." Not surprisingly, the policy contained an intentional tort exclusion. The court held that the exclusion applied to alienation of affections. The court then took the further step of announcing that insurance coverage for alienation of affections is contrary to public policy:
To permit such "affair insurance" would defeat the purpose of punishing and deterring individuals for their own tortious acts. In accordance, we hold that insuring the tort of alienation of affections is contrary to South Dakota public policy