Alienation of Affections in Mississippi
From Davis v. Davis, decided yesterday by the Mississippi Supreme Court, in an opinion for the court by Justice Leslie King:
John and Sandra Davis, a then-married couple, had two children in the 1980s. In 2018, John discovered the possibility that the children were not biologically his, but that they may have been the biological result of Sandra’s extramarital sexual relations with Porter Horgan. Almost immediately after discovering this possibility, John sued Sandra and Horgan for fraud, alienation of affection, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. A jury ultimately awarded John $700,000 in damages….
John and Sandra Davis were married in 1979. John had two children from a previous marriage and had had a vasectomy. John testified that he had his vasectomy reversed in 1985. Two children were born during their marriage, Jared in 1987 and Becky in 1989. Both children were born in Louisiana, where the parties lived.
In the late 1980s, Horgan pursued Sandra and they began having occasional unprotected sexual intercourse. Both testified that the relationship was sporadic and sexual, not emotional. At some point during the 1990s, Sandra began to work for Horgan, and did so at various intervals during the 1990s. Sandra estimated that the last time she and Horgan had sexual relations was in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Horgan testified that the affair had ended, at the latest, by 1997 or 1998, when he did not see her any longer in a business capacity.
Sandra testified that the marriage between her and John was never good. But John testified that, in the 1980s, he and Sandra were happily married. He testified that he had no reason to believe that Horgan was interfering with his marriage in the 1980s. He further testified that, in the early 1990s, his marriage was good and that he had no reason to believe Sandra was having an affair. He further stated that their sex life was fine and that Sandra never seemed emotionally detached. He testified that he was shocked when Sandra left the marital home in 1999.
In 1999, John and Sandra separated, and their divorce was finalized in 2001. For approximately one year prior to the divorce, the family lived in Mississippi. Sandra was granted custody of the children, and John was ordered to pay child support in the amount of $838 per month. The divorce was finalized by a Louisiana court, but a Mississippi court decided custody and property issues. Sandra had filed an affidavit in the court stating that she and John were the parents of their two children. Sandra testified that John did not actually pay his child support, but that she never pursued contempt because she could not afford an attorney. Additionally, the children
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