Last week a Lowndes County Circuit Court jury awarded Chrissy Strickland $88,000 in damages in an alienation of affection lawsuit against Melissa Simmons. The verdict consisted of $87,500 in compensatory damages and $500 in punitive damages. The small punitive verdict will allow the plaintiff to recover attorney’s fees.
The plaintiff (Strickland) alleged that in early 2007 Simmons began an affair with Strickland’s husband, who was also Simmons’ step-brother (their parents married years earlier). In September 2007, Strickland and Simmons’ husband announced that they wanted divorces and were “talking.” Plaintiff’s investigation revealed that the two were doing a bit more than “talking.” The two later married, significantly reducing the number of holiday family gatherings that the couple would have to attend.
The defendant (Simmons) unsuccessfully argued that the plaintiff’s marriage was dead before the affair started and that she did not start having sex with plaintiff’s husband until after she and plaintiff’s husband announced their plans to divorce their spouses.
I bet no one had to worry about the jury falling asleep during this trial.
The jury’s verdict was based on an 11-1 vote and followed a two and a half day trial. The plaintiff asked for $175,000 in closing argument, but offered to settle the case before trial for less than the amount of the verdict.