Do children have a claim for alienation of affection?
August 13, 2014 2 Comments
The traditional law of alienation of affection cases is somewhat straight forward.
The tort of alienation of affections was recognized in Mississippi as early as 1926 in McRae v. Robinson, 145 Miss. 191, 110 So. 504 (1926). In Camp v. Roberts, 462 So.2d 726, 727 (Miss. 1985), this Court held “[w]here a husband [wife] is wrongfully deprived of his rights to the ‘services and companionship and consortium of his [her] wife [husband],’ he [she] has a cause of action ‘against one who has interfered with his [her] domestic relations.’
Fitch v. Valentine, 959 So. 2d 1012, 1018-1019 (Miss. 2007). While there have been a couple of cases which successfully joined the paramour’s employer, parties to these cases have typically lined up as the wronged spouse vs. the paramour.
Today, the Mississippi Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Dr. Charles Ronald Brent v. Vennit Mathis, et al concerning a difference type of plaintiff in an alienation of affection case…..children that have their family ripped apart due to the wrongful actions of someone intruding in their parents’ marriage. If you are interested in such cases, you can watch the argument before the Court here.
Dr. Brent claims, among other things, that the children lack standing to pursue a claim. A problem Brent may have with that argument is his deposition admission acknowledging that the marital relationship and children of the marriage can be harmed by an affair. The foreseeability of that harm may bite Dr. Brent. Likewise, his “eatin aint cheatin” remark isn’t going to sit well with the Court or jurors. As noted by Philip Thomas, defendants have a poor track record in these cases. Dr. Brent had best get his checkbook out.
h/t to Jane Tucker. Without her blog about the happenings before the MS Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, I probably wouldn’t have heard of this case until the opinion came down.