John Doe A v. Penn State
First Penn State scandal lawsuit says Coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a boy more than 100 times and the abuse was enabled by the school's "negligent oversight."
Bradley v. Lohan
Former Betty Ford Center employee sues Lindsay Lohan for assault, alleging the actress threw a phone at her and yanked her wrist while refusing to be breathalzyed.
N.D. v. New York Post
Hotel maid allegedly raped by French politician sues the New York Post for falsely reporting that she is a prostitute who "routinely traded sex for money" with male guests.
Reinhart v. Mortenson
Two Montana residents allege the author of "Three Cups of Tea" "fabricated material about his activities and work in Pakistan and Afghanistan" to sell the book.
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• Maryland appeals court says dog owners can be held strictly liable for pit bull attacks. "Because of its aggressive and vicious nature and its capability to inflict serious and sometimes fatal injuries, pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous." Tracey v. Solesky

• Woman who has been diagnosed as a sex addict sues a school district for failing to prevent her from having sex with male students on the school bus when she was in 11th grade.
Barksdale v. Egg Harbor Township Bd. of Ed.

• Civil rights activist challenges Georgia's "stand your ground law." "By not defining what actions create a reasonable perception justifying the use of deadly force, the Act[] potentially deprives all Georgia[n]s of the right to life without due process of law." Hutchins v. Deal

• Former patient of a Rhode Island doctor sues him for featuring her in a book about drug addiction. "Plaintiff had expected, as any reasonable patient would, that her private conversations during her treatment sessions with the Defendant would remain private and confidential."
Lisnoff v. Stein

• Class action alleges the YMCA deceives consumers by representing that it practices "Christian" values while allowing its gyms to be used for gay sex trysts. "YMCAs around the country ... are currently being used as brothels for cruising, with the YMCA's knowledge and implicit consent."
Keister v. YMCA

• Social workers are not liable for a sexual assault on a 5-year-old boy by a 16-year-old male placed in an adoptive home. "To rule against the individual defendants in this case would definitely break new ground."
Doe v. Braddy

• Student sues college for refusing to grant her the "reasonable accommodation" of a single room after she complained about her roommate's exhibitionist behavior.
Blankmeyer v. Stonehill College

• School district can be sued over a guidance counselor's sexual relationship with a student who was over the age of consent. "The inherent imbalance of power between a guidance counselor in a public school and a student may render opportunistic sexual predation sufficiently shocking, even with a 'consenting' student over sixteen, to form the basis of a substantive due process claim."
Doe v. Fournier

• Utah judge finds a "credible threat" that Utah County officials will prosecute a polygamist and his wives for bigamy. The officials' acts "suggest that an actual prosecution of Plaintiffs is forthcoming."
Brown v. Herbert

• Louisville, Ky., strip club sues a competitor for displaying an electronic sign outside a convention center that said "Don't go to Godfathers, their girls are ugly and have crabs."
The Godfather v. Trixie's Lounge

• A lawyer cannot sue two women he dated for posting derogatory comments about him on liarscheatersrus.com. "[W]hen viewed within the larger context of the website on which they were posted, there can be no doubt that a reasonable reader would understand the comments to be opinion." Coulotte v. Ryncarz

• Oglala Sioux tribe sues beer makers and Whiteclay, Neb., bars for enabling alcohol abuse on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The illegal trade in alcohol has "caused devastating injuries to the Lakota people and massive financial damages to the [tribe]."
Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Schwarting




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N.C. Courts Face Seduction Lawsuit Over Judge's Affair Print

North Carolina judges have stubbornly refused to abolish the archaic tort of alienation of affections. They may have a change of heart now that one of their own has been sued for seducing another man's wife.

Judge Kevin Eddinger

Rowan County District Court Judge Kevin Eddinger has admitted having an affair with Robin Isenhour, who worked as a clerk in his courtroom. North Carolina's judicial ethics commission did not recommend that he should be disciplined for the affair and he was reelected to the bench last year.

But North Carolina is one of only seven states that continues to allow plaintiffs to recover damages for sexual indiscretions, a remedy dating back to times when wives were considered property. In March 2010, a Guilford County, N.C., jury awarded what may be a record $9 million to a jilted wife.

And now Isenhour's husband is suing Eddinger for two "heart balm" tortsalienation of affections and criminal conversation, which punishes an adulterer for having sex with a married person without the consent of the other spouse. Eddinger himself is married and the father of twins.

“[B]y reason of Defendant's malicious and unlawful conduct with Plaintiff's wife, Defendant has alienated Plaintiff's wife's affections from Plaintiff,” Ronnie D. Isenhour says in a complaint that seeks at least $20,000 in damages.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals did abolish “heart balm” torts in 1986. “While the historical remedies allowed by these causes of action have undergone some progressive changes through the years, the actions remain permeated with the uncultivated and obsolete ideas which marked their origin,” it said in Cannon v. Miller, 322 S.E.2d 780 (1984).

But the state Supreme Court vacated that decision two months later and, since then, appellate courts have routinely upheld awards to plaintiffs in alienation of affections cases. If love and affection are alienated, a court said in Peake v. Shirley, 427 S.E.2d 885 (1993), "The question then becomes whether plaintiff presented sufficient evidence that the wrongful acts of defendant produced the alienation of affections."

According to Ronnie Isenhour, his wife had sex with Eddinger on “numerous occasions” between December 2008 and February 2009, meeting for trysts at the home of Eddinger's brother and a hotel. Isenhour portrays the judge as a veritable courtroom Casanova who “only got involved with  Plaintiff's wife to use her for his pleasure” and then said his feelings for her were a lie after her husband discovered the affair.

“The Defendant knew what to say, how to act, and what to do to get Plaintiff's wife to do what he wanted her to do for only so long as he wanted her around,” the suit says.

Eddinger allegedly alienated the affections of Robin Isenhour by making “statements and remarks to Plaintiff's wife to the effect that he loved her, and wanted to be with her.” At a Super Bowl party hosted by the Isenhours on Feb. 1, 2009, the suit says, he showed up with his wife and twins “because he could not stand being away from Plaintiff's wife.”

Robin Isenhour confessed to her husband on Feb. 11, 2009, he alleges, after he confronted her with text messages from Eddinger saying “hi cutie” and “love you.”

Eddinger won reelection in November with more than 55 percent of the vote. He admitted during his campaign that he had a consensual relationship with Robin Isenhour, saying he was “truly and deeply sorry that all this has happened.”

With North Carolina juries being so receptive to alienation of affections claims (see table), he could be even sorrier if the Isenhour case goes to trial. His best option may be to settle — or lobby the state Legislature to get rid of the tort once and for all.

This story linked by:


By Matthew Heller
3/14/11


 

Editor's note: On Point's RSS feed has moved to this link.

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U.S. v. Arpaio
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Document: Complaint

Schultz v. Medina Valley
Subject: School prayer
Document: Non-Kumbaya order

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Subject: Sexual harassment
Document: Verdict

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Subject: Sexual harassment
Document: Complaint

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Document: Complaint

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RC_OnTrial

Peterson/Pryde v. Thyden
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Subject: Virginia Tech shootings
Verdict: $8 million

Sheridan v. Cherry
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RC_OnTheDocket

Brown v. Herbert
Date: 12/16/11
Court: USDC, Utah
Hearing: Motion to dismiss polygamy case

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