Mon Jan 7, 7:08 PM
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A Mississippi businessman must pay more than 750,000 dollars in damages to the man whose wife he wooed away, after the US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal in the case
In 1997, Sandra Valentine began working for Jerry Fitch, a wealthy realtor and successful businessman.
When she gave birth to a daughter two years later, it quickly became apparent that her boss -- not her plumber husband -- was the baby's father.
The couple divorced a short time later, after legal proceedings in which she acknowledged an adulterous relationship with Fitch, whom she tied the knot with a short time later.
But armed with the admission of adultery, betrayed ex-husband Johnny Valentine decided to sue Fitch, based on an antiquated Mississippi state law permitting a cuckolded spouse to seek damages for "loss of society, companionship, love and affection," as well as "the loss of sexual relations."
About a half dozen US states have similar "alienation of affection" laws on the book.
The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld a jury verdict awarding some 750,000 dollars to Valentine.
Fitch, who decried the verdict as unconstitutional, "antiquated" and based on "medieval notions" about marriage and property, appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court which refused to overturn the verdict.
His appeal of last resort failed on Monday when the US Supreme Court declined to take up the case.