(CN) – North Carolina’s long-arm statute allows a resident to sue a California man for allegedly having an affair with his wife, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled.
William Lawson Brown III sued Mark Ellis, his wife’s co-worker, for alienation of affection and criminal conversation. Brown claims Ellis bombarded his wife with daily emails and phone calls, and engaged in romantic trysts with her outside of North Carolina.
Brown argued that he has an action against Ellis, who lives in Orange County, Calif., because of the phone calls and emails his wife received in North Carolina.
The trial court ruled in Brown’s favor, but the appeals court reversed the decision, saying there was “no evidence that defendant solicited plaintiff’s wife while she was in North Carolina.”
The state Supreme Court justices disagreed.
“Defendant never denied that he telephoned or emailed plaintiff’s spouse in North Carolina,” they wrote, “he merely characterized the conversations as work-related.”
Finding that the North Carolina courts have jurisdiction, the justices remanded the case to the court of appeals.