As reported by the Clarion-Ledger and at Ipse Blogit, Leisha Pickering, otherwise known as Mrs. Chip Pickering, is suing Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd for alienation of affection. This is a cause of action where you sue the person your spouse had an affair with for busting up your marriage. The action is not recognized in many states, but is in Mississippi. The Mississippi Supreme Court recently affirmed a large jury verdict against a lawyer in one of these cases. You can read the Complaint at this Ipse Blogit post and read Matt Eichelberger’s comments on the Complaint at this post.
Leisha Pickering is represented by former Mississippi Supreme Court Justices Chuck McRae and Oliver Diaz. The case is pending in Hinds County Circuit Court before Judge William Coleman, who is presiding over the cases that would have otherwise been assigned to Judge DeLaughter. The Defendant’s family owns Cellular South, so she apparently has the money to satisfy a judgment. Alienation of affection lawsuits are typically only filed against wealthy individuals, since liability insurance policies do not provide coverage. You see a lot of doctors and lawyers getting sued under the theory. There have been rumors over the years of prominent attorneys and executives settling alienation claims, including a former CEO who is now in jail.
You would expect this case to be settled quietly. But divorces and the related fall out are messy, so if Leisha Pickering is out for blood rather than money, then this will be one of the most watched trials in the history of the State of Mississippi. Cameras are allowed in the courtroom in state court so the whole proceeding will probably be televised. Mississippi media is largely ignoring major litigation such as Eaton v. Frisby and the Colson Litigation. But you can bet that they will cover this case, since scandal sells.