Alienation of affection means that another person willfully ended your marriage by seducing your spouse, and in North Carolina it is grounds for a civil action. As reported by the News & Observer, the founder of BMX Stunt Shows, Keith King, sued a man he claimed ruined his marriage. A jury found that the man destroyed King’s marriage by having an 18-month affair with his wife and awarded him $8.8 million in damages. At Parsons Law PAPA, we understand how upsetting it is to learn that your spouse betrayed your trust by entering into a relationship with another person. In some cases, you may sue the person who seduced your spouse, and the jury may award relief for the harm inflicted.
King married his wife Danielle in 2010, and when he discovered she was having an affair, he sued the alleged homewrecker. The defendant, Francisco Huizar III, was accused of alienation of affection, criminal conversation, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.
Huizar and King’s wife met at a BMX bike show where Huizar worked at a marketing booth. The two began seeing each other until King’s wife decided to move out of their North Carolina home and into a rented apartment with Huizar. When King showed up at their apartment, Huizar answered the door and King realized his marriage was essentially over. King reacted to his emotions, which prompted Huizar to place him in a chokehold. The violent incident caused King to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. The jury awarded King compensatory damages in the amount of $2.2 million and about $6.6 million in punitive damages as Huizar’s punishment.
North Carolina courts may award generous punitive damages, and in a 2011 case filed for alienation of affection, a jury awarded the plaintiff $30 million. When your spouse’s affair causes an emotional or psychological injury that prevents you from working or carrying out your normal business activities, a legal action may be necessary to recover. Our page on alienation of affection provides more information about this topic.