Romantic Tales | Courthouse News Service
Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Thursday, November 30, 2023 | Back issues
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Romantic Tales

Here's an interesting factoid: Six states still recognize the common law tort of alienation of affection.

It's too bad there aren't more, because the appellate rulings these laws can generate are so entertaining.

Case in point from this month: Brent v. Mathis II, in which the Mississippi Supreme Court split 6-3 on the issue of whether children can sue for alienation of the affection of their mother.

No, the children weren't suing each other. "Mom always liked you best!" was not the basis for the litigation.

They were suing - actually their dad was suing on their behalf - because Mom had a brief affair with a doctor and Dad found out about it six months later and filed for divorce. Therefore, Mom no longer loved them.

One-third of the Mississippi Supreme Court took this seriously enough to assert that "children, unjustly harmed by the diminution of familial affection, ought to have standing to bring alienation of affection claims against the party whose wrongful conduct proximately caused or contributed to the dissolution of the family."

So Mom, filing on the kids' behalf too, could sue Dad for filing the divorce?

Proximate cause is proximate cause.

Or could the kids (ages 5 and 3 in this case) seek independent counsel to represent them against non-affectionate parents?

Seems only fair.

Read the dissent - there are some amazing precedents cited, including cases against parents-in-law and an employer who "recklessly" allowed a woman and a coworker to have an affair at work.

We need more alienation of affection laws. This is way too much fun.

By the way, check out footnote 7 of the dissent, where we learn that Mississippi has a law on its books saying that "a parent may bring an action for the seduction of a child, although such child be not living with nor in the service of the plaintiff, and though there be no loss of service ..."

You can sue if they never call, they never write.

More alienation: Now turn your attention to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and another father-child relationship.

The ruling, also from this month, is In re G.B., in which a father appealed the termination of his parental rights just because he was in prison for hiring someone to murder his son's mother.

I'm guessing he was hoping for presents on Father's Day.

Some affection should be alienated.

Quote of the week: From Bryant v. Bryant, a ruling of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals: "Although Wife conceded that she had used drugs with Husband on occasion, she said that this took place only when he brought drugs into the house."

No point in wasting good drugs.

Hip-hop love? It's not easy keeping up with modern lingo, but I think I understand this one.

This is from a lawsuit filed last week against singer Keyshia Cole, who allegedly attacked a woman she ran into in her boyfriend's house: "(G)iven the fact that Mercadel's relationship with Williams was strictly plutonic, it was of no consequence to her who Williams was dating."

It's not a typo - it says "plutonic" repeatedly in the suit.

I'm pretty sure it means the relationship was out of this world.

Not so sure I can explain that "who" though.

I want to see this trial conducted entirely in rap.

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