Do children have a claim for alienation of affection?

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.  

Advertisements

Bad choice of words

A few stories caught my eye today.  First up comes from NRA-ILA.  That’s the National Rifle Association Institute of Legal Action.  They are hardcore supporters of the 2nd Amendment so it came as a bit of a shock when a news release on their website stated:

Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.

Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary.  It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

The NRA received more than a wee bit of flack for criticizing open carry of long guns.  Apparently so much flack that Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the NRA issued a statement saying “It was a mistake” and “it shouldn’t have happened.

Second up is David Charron.  Charron, a business lawyer, had already been held in contempt by a Michigan trial court for transferring assets of a business in violation of a trial court order.  Charron doubled down in appealing the contempt order by stating in the appeal “When the judiciary acts as the bitch for complainant, we get rulings like this.”  Ouch.  Regardless of whether or not that was in fact the case, a bit of tact is always in order when describing a trial court’s behavior to an appellate court.    The Michigan Court of Appeals took issue and hit him with a $1,000 reminder that such language was inappropriate.

Finally, back at home here in Mississippi I see Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger accused of striking a mentally challenged man and saying “Run, n—–, run.”  If this is true, I can’t imagine what in the world Weisenberger was thinking.   That is even more outrageous than the Florida judge that told a public defender to stop “pissing him off and just sit down” and then told the attorney he would take him out back and “beat his ass.”

Lessons from the above:

  1. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
  2. Don’t use the word “bitch” in a legal brief unless a female dog is involved.
  3. Don’t be a racist.
  4. Don’t threaten to whoop anyone’s ass in court.

A few stories that don’t involve the election

  • 41 people charged with car-deer insurance fraud.  Police officer, insurance adjusters and a body shop owner were among those arrested in the five million dollar scheme where “deer hair, blood, carcasses and weeds and grasses gathered by Galati’s employees were used to stage what he called “Hollywood photos” of the bogus accident.”
  • New deer regulations in Mississippi allow shooting more than one doe per day on private land and remove the requirement of hunters’ orange if the hunter is 12 feet or higher in a tree.  Also, “weapon of choice” for deer season on private land after November 30 passed.  Due to the November 30 date, the first primitive antlerless only season in early November will be excluded.
  • The Mississippi Insurance Department issued Bulletin 2014-4 dealing with rejection of uninsured motorist coverage.  More than 1 in 4 drivers on Mississippi roads are uninsured.  If you get injured by a vehicle due to the negligence of someone with no or little insurance, then your UM insurance can pay for your medical bills, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.   Compared to other types of insurance, UM is very cheap.  Buy UM, get all you can up to the limits of your liability limits and NEVER reject UM coverage.  Protect yourself and protect your family.  Given that 28% of Mississippi drivers do not have auto insurance, you are risking your financial future every time you drive if you do not have adequate uninsured motorist coverage.  Expect to see a form similar to this when your car insurance renews:

The purpose of bond

Joshua Adams is the Hinds County deputy charged with murder in the death of Justin Griffin.  The story has been on the news most every night since their altercation of May 4.  A video of the fight was subsequently released.  I am no expert on fighting, but it would appear reasonable people could differ in their interpretation of the video and which person was the aggressor.  Since the death of Mr. Griffin on May 5, Mr. Adams has been jailed without bond.

WLBT is reporting that Circuit Judge Winston Kidd set bond today at $50,000 with some additional conditions.  Many of the responses from viewers on WLBT’s website and facebook page show a lack understanding in the purpose of a criminal bond.  Bond isn’t to punish the accused, but rather to secure the presence of the accused at trial.  Simple as that.  Punishment is reserved for when and if Mr. Adams is convicted.  Until then, Mr. Adams is presumed innocent.

I thought stuff like this only occurred in the minds of law professors

From years ago in a contract or property class in law school I vaguely remember a professor describing a situation where a swimming pool was accidentally built at the wrong house.  Maybe it was supposed to be built at 101 Jones Street and instead it was built at 102 Jones Street.  If I remember correctly, the general rule of whether the owner of the pool had to compensate the pool builder for building the pool hinged on whether or not the landowner had knowledge of the pool construction and failed take action to notify the pool builder.  I could be wrong so don’t quote me on that.

In any event the only thing I could think of while the professor was lecturing away on the concept was “what kind of moron builds a pool in the wrong backyard?”  I really didn’t think it was possible and figured it was just something the professor made up to illustrate a point.

Fast forward to 2009.  Residential Advantage Development (RAD) acquires a piece of property in Jackson and decides to build a home on the lot.  Unfortunately, RAD builds a home on Lot 20 instead of Lot 21.  Lot 20 is owned by the Ross Family.  Sometime around completion of the construction, RAD decides to finally get around to a survey and figures out their nice new home is on the wrong land.

RAD then filed suit against the Ross family seeking to have the court force the Ross family to sell the land to RAD for the cost of the unimproved lot (the cost of the land before the house was mistakenly built).  In a decision sure to assist in teaching property and contract lawyers of the future, both the trial court and the Mississippi Court of Appeals turned down RAD’s legal theories.

There is no dispute that RAD will suffer financial loss based on the chancery court’s decision; however, based on our standard of review, the evidence in the record, and the relevant case law, we cannot find that the chancery court abused its discretion in granting the Ross family’s request for injunctive relief and denying RAD’s motion to alter or amend the judgment.

Long story short…….RAD has incurred the cost of building a home and their attorney’s fees for a trial in Chancery Court and an appeal to the Court of Appeals.  Now they get to pay the costs of tearing down the home and repairing the lot to its undisturbed condition.  That isn’t so RAD, but I suspect some law professors will find it humorous.

Is Justice for Sale in Arkansas? —-update

Matt Campbell at the Blue Hog Report provides an update on Judge Mike Maggio in Arkansas.  According to Campbell, The Arkansas Supreme Court stripped Judge Maggio of his docket.  The Arkansas Business Journal has a similar story.  Not surprisingly, things are not looking very positive for the good judge.  It might be a good time for him to polish up his resume.

 

Is justice for sale in Arkansas?

Lets say a nursing home is responsible for the death of your mother.  I wont go into much detail other than to say that she screamed in agony for hours prior to her death.  You file a lawsuit against the nursing home and eventually a jury of your peers awards the sum of $5.2 million.

The nursing home files motions with the court to reduce the verdict (they always do).  The judge finds that the award “is so great that it shocks the conscience of the court” and reduces the $5.2 million to $1 million.  After the judge reduces the verdict by $4.2 million dollars, seven (yes 7) PACS are formed and money related to the owner of the nursing home flows through those PACS and to the judge in your case.

Coincidence?  Does that sound fair?  Does that sound like justice was for sale in your case?

Read the entire story from investigative blogger Matt Campbell at the Blue Hog Report.  His reminds me of Kingfish over at Jackson Jambalaya.

Miscellaneous Friday

A few things of interest or that were just too funny to pass up.

Things NOT to say to your wife unless you want to visit a divorce attorney or emergency room.

Despite myths to the contrary, most don’t sue despite chronic neck pain after car wrecks.

Texas wife runs newspaper ad to give a “congrats on the new baby” to her husband and his girlfriend.

In Tennessee, passing six (6) field sobriety tests isn’t enough to avoid going on trial for DUI.

Texting while walking is more dangerous than texting while driving on a per mile basis.

Similar to my 40…41 things not to do during your divorce, Eliana Baer of FoxRothschild LLP gives the 10 Commandments of Divorce.

It’s a small world

No telling how many times I have heard that said over the years, but it came to mind while flipping through some old pictures when I came across this one.

SAMSUNG

The date was March 28, 2012.  The guy in the back is my best friend.  We had just finished eating lunch at Mr. Chen’s  in Jackson.  As my friend started to get in his truck, he took a second to talk to a man that was pushing a lady in a wheelchair and gave them a couple bucks.  A random act of kindness.

Flash forward a couple weeks.  I received a call at the office from a gentleman that needed representation in a wrongful death case.  While speaking with him, he relayed that his brother had been killed on March 30, 2012 in a pedestrian vs. vehicle wreck on the frontage road of Interstate 55 in Jackson.  As we talked, he disclosed that his brother was pushing a wheel chair for a disabled lady and both were struck.  His brother died at the scene and the lady passed away a few days later from her injuries.

Out of several thousand attorneys in Mississippi, my client chose an attorney that actually saw his brother in the 48 hours prior his death.  It truly is a small world.

Something to consider in your divorce case

There are endless things to consider when moving through a divorce case.  Which parent gets custody?  What is the visitation schedule?  What happens when soccer practice interferes with visitation?  Which parent gets to claim the child for tax purposes?  How much life insurance is enough?  While all of those questions must be answered there are other things that need to be addressed as well.

For one……what if there are pictures or digital images of the parties that depict scandalous behavior.  Maybe a picture of the wife naked or the police officer husband smoking marijuana.  It could be anything that one of the parties to the divorce doesn’t want getting out.

For years attorneys have inserted a provision in property settlement agreements that stated something similar to:

Each of the parties shall be free from interference, authority and control, direct or indirect, by the other as fully as if he or she were single and unmarried. Neither party hereto shall in any way molest or harass the other, attempt to visit the other, or attempt to persuade the other to cohabit or dwell with him/her by any means whatsoever, and each party shall fully respect the rights of privacy of the other.

Does that cover a disgruntled ex-husband from forwarding pictures to a co-worker or the new boyfriend of his ex-wife?  Maybe.  With the proliferation of revenge porn sites it is probably better to handle the matter directly in the property settlement agreement or final judgment of divorce.

If there are specific pictures that are known to the parties, require each party to destroy the pictures within a certain time frame of the entry of the divorce.  Also, consider requiring the parties to agree that the pictures have not and will not be disseminated in the future.

%d bloggers like this: