A North Carolina woman recently sued her husband’s paramour and won big, and I mean big. Cynthia Shackelford won $9 million in a law suit against Anne Lundquist, the woman who had an affair with Cynthia Shackelford’s husband, Allan Shackelford. North Carolina along with six other states (Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah) recognize alienation of affections claims, in which spouses can sue third parties that they allege interfered in their marriages. Over a half a century ago, the State of New Jersey abolished the Heart Balm Act which allowed a wronged litigant to sue the third party for alienation of spousal affection.
According to a recently published article on Syracuse.com, the award to Ms. Shackelford was based on many factors including her loss of income from her husband, her mental health-related problems, and compensation for her legal and medical bills. Apparently, Mr. Shackelford was in the prime of his career as a lawyer making more than $300,000 annually when the marriage ended. Ms. Lundquist, who is the Dean at Wells College in Aurora, New York, and lives with Mr. Shackelford never appeared at trial that was scheduled to begin on March 15. She is now seeking to have a Judge toss out the $9 million judgment alleging that she did not receive adequate notice of the trial and that the award is grossly excessive in nature. We will certainly provide updates to this story as they become available.