What does alienation of affection cost?
December 1, 2011 14 Comments
Looks like the going rate in Lowndes County is $88,000. Earlier this week, the Mississippi Court of Appeals handed down Simmons v. Strickland. In this case, Chrissy and Chuck were married in 1996 and had a child named Wilder in 1998. Chrissy testified that their marriage was “relatively good” for eleven years. Chuck testified that it was “more troubled, although he did concede that the marriage was “typical,” in that there were “ups and downs.”
According to the opinion:
The marriage began to disintegrate in the summer of 2007. They separated on
September 17, 2007.
¶4. In June 2007, Chuck, Chrissy, and Wilder were on vacation with Melissa and her
then-husband, Lane Simmons, at a camp house on a river in Kiln, Mississippi. Chuck and
Chrissy got into an argument. Chrissy packed her bags, grabbed Wilder, and left the camp
house without Chuck.
¶5. Melissa testified that she and Chuck stayed up talking that night at the camp house.
He told her that he was unhappy. After that night, Chuck and Melissa talked to each other
frequently. Cell phone records indicated that Melissa called Chuck 107 times between July
26, 2007, and September 17, 2007. Likewise, Chuck called Melissa fifty-one times…
Thereafter, Chuck and Chrissy divorced and Lane and Melissa divorced. At trial, Chuck and Melissa claimed they never had sex prior to Chuck’s separation from Chrissy, but the jury found otherwise to the tune of $87,500 in compensatory damages and $500 in punitive damages.
Melissa appealed on a number of issues but was successful on none of them. Score one against the home wreckers.
I guess Melissa can at least be happy it didn’t happen in Marshall County. Valentine v. Fitch from there in 2005 cost the losing side $754,500 plus attorneys’ fees. That isn’t a small amount of money and would have most people living in a van down by the river and eating ramen noodles for the rest of their lives.