Thursday, August 2, 2018
The heartbalm torts--torts used to soothe a spouse's heart if cheated upon--have been abrogated in most jurisdictions. Six jurisdictions, however, retain some version of alienation of affections, criminal conversation, or both: Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah. In these states, a cheated-upon spouse can sue the interloper in the marriage, not the other spouse. North Carolina makes the most use of these torts, and this week a man was hit with an $8.8M verdict for conducting a 16-month affair with another man's wife. Most of the verdict was in punitive damages, but $2.2M was in compensatory damages. When the plaintiff learned of his wife's infidelity, his business lost revenue and a valued employee (his wife). CNN has the story.