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Wife Sues Husband's Alleged Mistress and Wins $9 Million

In North Carolina, Cynthia Shackelford had been married to her husband, Allen, for 33 years. When Cynthia got suspicious that her husband might be doing something on the sly, a private investigator confirmed that her husband had been having an affair with Anne Lundquist. In North Carolina, there's an old law called "alienation of affection." Cynthia sued Lundquist under this law and was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages. In this case, it was said that Lundquist knew Allen was married and pursued him anyway. "She set her sights on him. ... She knew he was married," said Cynthia. "You don't go after married men and break up families."

Lundquist didn't respond to requests for comment from this article by ABCNews, but plans on appealing the case. In the meantime, Allen has commented that Lundquist isn't the reason his marriage failed and admitted to having numerous affairs, going all the way back to the first two years of his marriage.

North Carolina is one of just seven states to recognize alienation of affection claims, in which spouses can sue third parties that they allege interfered in their marriages. The origination of this law has some discomforting history, in that alienation of affection claims evolved from common law under which women were considered the property of their husbands. If another man was accused of stealing his "property," a husband could sue him for damages. Today, both men and women sue under the law.

What do you think, should more states allow you to sue a mistress for alienation of affection?

Views: 141

Comment by Erica Selle on April 6, 2010 at 9:12am
I think it is both good and bad to have this law. Good because I feel that karma exist and if you are doing something that you know is wrong and none of your business (i.e. a failing marriage) then you get what you deserve. But at the same time, it is bad thing because an affair take 2 and the cheater (in this case the husband) isn't really getting punished. If anything, he could get some of that money!

Also, there are way too many people out there who are suing others and I think that this nation is addicted to it. So by having this law spread to more states it is allowing more and more almost pointless court cases to flourish.

So overall I say, good for this woman and I hope that because of this case people will pause and think before leaping. But, I don't think that this law should be used in other states.
Comment by hitched on April 6, 2010 at 10:02am
Good points Erica. In this case, the couple had divorced by the time this ruling went down and the husband had not been paying the alimony he was required to pay. That's one reason many believe the jury awarded such a large sum to the wife.
Comment by Erica Selle on April 8, 2010 at 1:37pm
OH! That makes sense...


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