Remember the old song? Escape by Rupert Holmes. The guy is lounging in bed with his significant other and reading the personal columns. He notices one that catches his eye and, because he is in a rut in his relationship, he responds. A meeting is set up, and when he shows up at the appointed time, it turns out that it was his girlfriend who he intended to cheat on had actually placed the ad. She appears at the rendezvous not knowing it was her lover who had responded and is equally, but happily, surprised: “they laugh for a moment and I said I never knew that you like Pina coladas and getting caught in the rain . . .” A happy ending; all is well.
Today, most folks looking to cheat in their relationship apparently don’t use the personal columns but instead 32 million of them turned to Ashley Madison. And after the hack of the company’s website, spouses around the globe are checking to see if their spouse was a user of the site. Doubtful there will be any happy endings. In fact, divorce lawyers are seeing an uptick in business.
Of course, at the Law Offices of John Day, we do not handle divorce work. Instead, our focus is on tort cases. Tort cases are claims for personal injury or death. And in the context of affairs, two torts are possible in some states: alienation of affection and criminal conversation. Alienation of affection occurs if there was a happy marriage with genuine love and affection and the love was alienated or destroyed by the wrongful and malicious acts of another. The malicious act does not necessarily have to be sexual intercourse, but malice is presumed if sexual intercourse occurred. Criminal conversation is slightly different. It simply requires a valid marriage and proof of sexual intercourse between the spouse and a third-party.
While both of these torts have been abolished in Tennessee, many states still recognize them and multi-million dollar verdicts have been rendered against the lover (the remedy against the spouse is still found in divorce court). While alienation of affection and criminal conversation are not valid claims in Tennessee, all of this talk of affairs and extramarital sex compels me to inform you that you can sue someone for negligent or intentional transmission of a sexual disease. If you can prove you contracted the disease from the sexual partner, you can recover damages for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, future medical costs and loss of enjoyment of life.
Gentle reader, I sincerely hope none of you need to know any of this law but here it is in the event you do. And, if you would like to talk to one of our award-winning lawyers about any type of accident or injury case, we will be happy to talk to you in a free, confidential consultation. Just give us a call at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or toll-free from anywhere in the State of Tennessee at 866-812-8787. We handle all personal injury and death cases on a contingency basis.