SALT LAKE CITY — A Riverton man has filed a personal injury lawsuit against an Idaho resident his wife left him for alleging alienation of affection and intentional affliction of emotional distress.
He is seeking $1.5 million in damages.
In the lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court Thursday, the man states that he and his wife were married in 1995 and had two children, now ages 14 and 16. In 2010, though, the "defendant" — a former Utah man now residing in Idaho — began an "illicit" affair with the man's wife.
According to the lawsuit, the defendant knew the woman was married and that she had children but carried on the affair throughout 2010 and 2011. On Sept. 15, the man's wife moved to Burley, Idaho, to live with the defendant, leaving her husband and children behind.
"At all times during the affair, defendant knew that plaintiff was entitled to the lawful, natural and conjugal rights and privileges with his spouse, which included, but are not limited to love, companionship, services, income and comfort that form the foundation of a marriage," the lawsuit states.
It goes on to state that the defendant also knew that the couple's children were entitled to the stability and comfort of a "family life with two parents" and that the defendant's decision to pursue the man's wife and carry on the affair was the "controlling cause of the deterioration of (the man's) marital relationship."
The man contends in the lawsuit that the defendant's actions led to his wife's abandonment of their marriage and children.
"Defendant's pattern of conduct pursuing (the wife) and the illicit affair intentionally or recklessly caused foreseeable harm to plaintiff and the children," the lawsuit states. "At all times defendant knew that his conduct was targeted, certain and inevitable to alienate the affection of (wife) toward plaintiff and the children."
The man requested $250,000 in damages for alienation of affection, another $250,000 for intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress and $1 million in punitive damages. He alleges that the man who had an affair with his wife "committed a pattern of secretive acts deliberately hidden" that were meant to "destroy" their family.
"Defendant's conduct is reprehensible, not acceptable by any standards in this community and should be made an example of so as to deter like-minded individuals," the lawsuit states.
Attorney James Ziter, who is representing the man who filed the lawsuit, said that while these cases are "very uncommon," they aren't all that different from cases where different injuries and pains are inflicted and compensation is requested.
"For plaintiffs in these types of lawsuits they suffer financial damages because of the interference and that's what generates these kinds of lawsuits," Ziter said.
Utah is one of only seven states that allows for alienation of affection claims, but, Ziter said, "it's certainly a law of action alive and well in the state of Utah."
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