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Alienation of Affection Lawsuits

A recent article on CBC News highlights a North Carolina court decision that awarded a wife $9 million dollars in damages from the alleged mistress of her husband.  The damages were awarded under the tort of “alienation of affection”.

The tort of “alienation of affection” law “evolved from common law under which women were classed as property of their husbands.  As property, they were something that could be stolen.”

The Ontario Court of appeal considered the law of alienation of affection in 1960 in the case of Kungl v. Schiefer.  The case was subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1962.  In that case, Canada’s highest court confirmed that there were no damages to be awarded for alienation of affection.

The Supreme Court of Canada reconsidered their decision in case of Frame v. Smith  In that case, the Court upheld that there was no separate cause of action for alienation of affection at paragraph 38 and that such domestic matters lie outside of the scope of the law altogether.