North Carolina May Cap Damages in Adultery Lawsuits

July 10, 2009

A Senate committee has backed limits to a North Carolina law that allows scorned spouses to sue and collect damages for stolen affection and adultery.

A Senate judiciary committee this week recommended a bill barring lawsuits for amorous acts after a married couple separated, and puts a three-year time limit on the lawsuits. Jilted spouses also could not sue a business.

North Carolina is one of only about a half dozen states that still allow a spouse to sue their wayward partner’s lover for stolen affection. Sen. Daniel Clodfelter of Mecklenburg County said North Carolina is the only state that allows lawsuits over a spouse’s adultery.

Senators said the lawsuits are primarily filed by revenge-seeking spouses of wealthy people.

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