Alienation of affection laws are sparse throughout the United States, but they do still exist in a handful of the upper 48. For those of you who may not know what this is, it’s when the wronged spouse in an affair can bring suit against others for encouraging, taking part in, or assisting the affair in some way.
One place in particular where an alienation of affection suit was actually tried happened in North Carolina 15 years ago. According to JDSupra, the case was brought against a North Carolina employer in Mercier v. Daniels.
“In this case, the Merciers ran a U-Haul franchise,” the site notes. “Mr. Mercier claimed that Ms. Mercier left him for a U-Haul area field manager. In addition to suing the manager, Mr. Mercier sued U-Haul, claiming that the company was vicariously liable for its employee’s behavior.”
The defendant in the case — U-Haul won both the initial suit and the appeal — because the plaintiff was unable to prove that U-Haul had knowledge of the employee’s dealings with Ms. Mercier, and thus could not have facilitated the affair. The plaintiff attested that U-Haul “must have known,” yet continued to keep the field manager in a position where he could deal with Ms. Mercier directly. He was unable to prove it.
The lesson in this, especially for those of you who got divorced because of an affair, is simple: move on with your life.
Just because you have the legal grounds to do something, that doesn’t mean you should always take advantage. Mr. Mercier’s case in going after U-Haul was flimsy at best, and instead of letting it go and setting goals and objectives for self-improvement and healing, he kept harboring bitterness and racked up several more legal fees in the process.
The old saying is true. The best revenge is living well. Do you think alienation of affection laws are antiquated and unconstitutional, or should wronged spouses still have this legal recourse? Sound off in the comments section.[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]