Friday, January 11, 2008

"Spousal Theft" Costs Millionaire $750,000

A Mississippi law allowed Johnny Valentine (ironic name, no?) to sue businessman Jerry Fitch Sr. for loss of companionship, love, and sex when his wife Sandra left him.

Sandra Valentine and Fitch began an affair when Sandra worked for him. When Sandra became pregnant, Johnny, already suspecting an affair, ordered a paternity test which showed the child was not his. He then filed for divorce and sued Fitch under the "alienation of affection" law still on the books in Mississippi and 6 other states (Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah).

Valentine won $750,000 in court, and the verdict was upheld by the State Supreme Court. Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, ending any appeals.

Not that it necessarily had anything to do with Sandra's decision to leave Johnny, but he was a plumber, while Fitch is a millionaire. Just something to keep in mind.

While it seems likely that revenge certainly played a role in the lawsuit, that's what happens when laws like this stay on the books!

I'm wondering, since Fitch was also married at the time of the affair, if he's getting sued by his ex-wife as well.


Anonymous said...

I've heard of this "Alienation Of Affections" law b4, & I think EVERY state should have it. U read all the time about a woman getting all the $$ if she divoces her husband, & I'm glad the books were in his favor. Altho for a millionair this is just "pocket change", it won't make a dent in his bank account. As far as I'm concerned, the woman is a gold digger & he's much better off without her. I applaud him for having the gutz to use this law, too many men will let their ego stand in the way, then when the wife divorces him, SHE gets the $$! The new husband better watch out, she'll do the same thing to him, & take his $$$!!!

Anonymous said...

People who are knowingly involved in adultery that leads to the destruction of families NEED to be held accountable for their choices. Every state needs that law!

Rabbi Dale said...

Amen to that. Finally it ends up for the man.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first post except for the "pocket change" part. If this millionaire only had a little over $1Mil, then the $750K would wipe him out. Without knowing his total worth, $750K could be huge!

PJM said...

Now he is a $250 thousandaire

sleepy said...

Did anyone ever stop to think that Mr. Plumber could have been the one to alienate her affection? He could be a real *ss. Perhaps she just couldn't take his emotional abuse anymoe - been there!

Anonymous said...

He wants to play, he should pay. The Bible says, regarding messing with anothers wife,"Can a man take fire into his breast and not be burned? That man will not spare in the day of vengeance." The rich fool is lucky he didn't get more than a law suit.
Hollywood and the media have reduced infidelity to something fun and exciting.
The fact is, it is still a terrible betrayel of trust and covenant.
On the positive side, the plumber guy is free of a shallow gold-digging partner of questionable character and moral stature.
I think soon, Hollywood and the media will get it. Sacrifice and higher moral choices are what endure and give meaning to life. The self-satisfying escapades of self-indulgence become a stain upon mankinds history.

1-800 DIVORCE said...

As an experienced Divorce lawyer, I have seen that usually the "cheating" spouse is getting away from a relationship that is already dead and my experience also shows that when the other spouse is obsessed with the relationship it is a very strong indication that this spouse was a person that was intolerable to live with or to continue to have a loving relationship.

Anonymous said...

I really don't have a huge problem with marriages that end this way when there aren't any children involved. We all make our choices as adults and it's our responsibility to know the vices and virtues of our spouses. That being said, once we choose to have children, I don't believe in "no fault" divorces. Both parties have a responsibility to raise the kids until they are at least 18. If you cheat on your spouse when you have kids, it should be your fault for breaking up the family, period. If you abuse your wife/husband, your fault. We need more responsibilty to family in America today, not incentive to break it up.