North Carolina’s throwback “heartbalm torts”

by Walter Olson on March 27, 2011

This time they’ve ensnared a judge accused of seducing another man’s wife. Maybe that will be enough to get the causes of action abolished at last. On John Edwards’s possible worries about legal liability, see this post from last year. [OnPoint]

{ 2 comments }

1 bobo 03.27.11 at 12:26 am

“North Carolina is one of only seven states that continues to allow plaintiffs to recover damages for sexual indiscretions”
.
Good for them.
I see nothing wrong with this tort, and everything right with it.
Infidelity is one of the most hurtful and painful things that can be done to a person.
If torts are there to remedy “a wrongful act, not including a breach of contract or trust, that results in injury”, then let this one stand. Otherwise, remove all emotional based torts (e.g., IIMD).

2 Malcolm Smith 03.27.11 at 9:52 pm

Good point, Bobo. Up to now, none of the critics have come up with good arguments as to how such laws harm the innocent, or otherwise interfere with legitimate activity.
Another point to be made is that the victim is often hit twice. In other words, once a seducer steals your spouse, the latter can claim half your property until the “no fault” divorce rules. At least the alienation of affection tort can even up the score for the innocent party.

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