An Illinois court dismissed a case alleging a new popular theory of recovery for jilted spouses being seen in more courts: alienation of affection. Despite recent press over the recent ruling of a $500,000 verdict (reduced to $50,000), actual cases show that most courts and states are hostile to the claims: viewing the affection already alienated before the entry of a second man or woman.
For the court ruling, click here
Alienation of affection remains a difficult action to win and requires in most states that the plaintiff show (1) love and affection of the alienated spouse for the plaintiff; (2) actual damages; and (3) overt acts, conduct or enticement by the defendant causing those affections to depart. Orbeta v. Gomez, 315 Ill.App.3d 687, 690 (2000). However, many courts have added a willful intent requirement and some states have been Alienation of Affections Acts that limit the actions.
Nevertheless, the largest award was some 2 million dollars in North Carolina. That state allows even employers to be sued under this theory.