BREAKING NEWS Danville triple murder suspect, 'significant other' both captured Full Story

A North Carolina man just won a $750,000 lawsuit after suing his wife's lover

Article Image

A North Carolina man says his divorce was almost unbearable, but an unusual legal claim just landed him a $750,000 judgment.According to court documen...

Posted: Oct 2, 2019 3:50 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2019 10:30 PM

A North Carolina man says his divorce was almost unbearable, but an unusual legal claim just landed him a $750,000 judgment.

According to court documents, Kevin Howard recently won a judgment against his ex-wife's lover for 'alienation of affections' -- a claim that exists in just a handful of other states across the country -- according to court documents.

Alienation of affection laws, sometimes known as 'homewrecker' laws, allow the spouse to sue another person for 'purposefully interfering with the marital relationship,' according to Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute. The person sued is usually the person a spouse cheated with.

Howard had been with his wife for 12 years. When she approached him about separating, the couple started attending marriage counseling. But something felt off, so Howard hired a private investigator, who uncovered the affair, he told CNN.

Howard blamed the other man for alienating his wife from him, according to court records. In August, a judge ruled in Howard's favor.

'He was a colleague of hers from work,' Howard said. 'He ate dinner with us several times, we spent time together ... I thought this was a friend.'

But the lawsuit wasn't just about the money, he said.

'I believe in the sanctity of marriage,' he said. 'Other families should see what the consequences are to not only breaking the vow to whatever religion you subscribe to, but also your legal responsibilities.'

CNN has been unable to contact the defendant.

Alienation of affection cases are 'very prevalent'

Cynthia Mills, Howard's attorney, told CNN she's argued at least 30 'alienation of affection' cases during her 31-year career. She has five cases of the sort open right now.

'It's very prevalent,' she said.

To have a chance at winning the lawsuit, a cheated-on spouse should be able to show the couple was happy before the affair and a lover came between them. In other words, that a third party got in the way of the relationship and caused its downfall.

Mills said the tort began from old English law, when women were viewed as property. In the same way that a man could sue for the theft of a horse, he could sue for the theft of a wife. Now, any spouse can sue regardless of their gender or their partner.

In many of Mills' cases, it's not really about the money, she told CNN.

'The idea is keeping the marriage sanctified and keeping the family together,' she said.

But people have still made some serious bank taking their exes to court.

In 2010, Mills said one of her clients received a verdict of $5.9 million.

Last year, a judge ordered a man pay $8.8 million to a husband whose wife he had been seeing for more than a year. Most of the money awarded consisted of punitive damages meant to penalize the defendant, but $2.2 million was in compensatory, or tangible, damages.

Many states have repealed alienation of affection laws, but they still exist in Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah and, of course, North Carolina.

Huntsville
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Fayetteville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Decatur
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 15650

Reported Deaths: 580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2033111
Jefferson163091
Montgomery127433
Marshall6509
Tuscaloosa55812
Lee51032
Franklin4676
Shelby44719
Tallapoosa40063
Butler35912
Chambers33724
Madison3024
Baldwin2749
Elmore2707
Walker2391
Etowah23811
DeKalb2263
Dallas2063
Coffee2061
Lowndes19310
Sumter1936
Morgan1761
Houston1724
Autauga1683
Calhoun1463
Pike1450
Choctaw1444
Colbert1422
Marengo1416
Russell1370
Lauderdale1352
Bullock1333
Hale1324
Randolph1247
Wilcox1187
Marion11410
Barbour1131
Clarke1092
St. Clair1041
Pickens934
Greene914
Talladega912
Chilton871
Dale850
Cullman780
Limestone770
Jackson712
Winston670
Covington671
Washington655
Henry642
Macon622
Crenshaw602
Bibb591
Blount491
Lawrence430
Escambia433
Perry350
Geneva350
Coosa341
Monroe332
Cherokee332
Conecuh281
Clay272
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 20535

Reported Deaths: 338
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson463258
Shelby445194
Trousdale13924
Rutherford102922
Sumner82745
Bledsoe6081
Hamilton60114
Williamson52210
Tipton4273
Lake4100
Robertson3891
Putnam3805
Wilson3638
Out of TN3394
Knox3365
Bedford2694
Montgomery2483
Rhea1970
Hardeman1880
Madison1732
Loudon1360
McMinn13514
Cheatham1100
Cumberland1091
Fayette1072
Dickson1040
Macon1013
Bradley981
Blount823
Maury790
Unassigned750
Washington730
Sevier722
Coffee660
Wayne630
Sullivan612
Gibson601
Monroe562
Lauderdale561
Hickman530
Dyer480
Greene472
Franklin461
Anderson391
Marion361
DeKalb340
Grundy321
Hawkins312
Smith301
Marshall291
Haywood292
Henry290
Carroll271
Jefferson270
White270
Weakley260
Hamblen262
Meigs250
Lincoln250
Lawrence240
Obion241
Warren210
Overton210
Cocke200
Carter191
Morgan170
Cannon170
Campbell171
Jackson170
Crockett161
Roane150
Johnson150
Polk140
Henderson130
Perry130
Humphreys131
McNairy120
Giles120
Chester120
Sequatchie110
Scott110
Hardin112
Fentress110
Stewart90
Claiborne80
Houston70
Benton71
Clay60
Grainger60
Decatur50
Van Buren40
Union40
Moore30
Unicoi30
Pickett30
Lewis30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events