Decision – Miss.S.Ct. – May 28, 2015

One opinion today and it concerns personal jurisdiction in an alienation of affections suit.  Like most people, I have no clue why these stupid suits are still allowed in Mississippi.  Certainly we have enough legislators who cheat on their spouses to see that this is a bad idea.  But I digress . . .

Francesca Nordness v. Paige Faucheaux – Phillip and Paige Faucheux are the married couple who eventually split.  Because they were in the military, they moved a lot.  In  2002, Phillip got a job as a pilot with FedEx in Memphis, so the couple moved to Southaven, Mississippi.   Phillip was also in the naval reserve and trained at  the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. In January 2004,  Phillip met and began an extramarital affair with Francesca Nordness while in Louisiana.. Phillip and Francesca continued the affair while Phillip trained in south Louisiana.  Francesca never visited Phillip in Mississippi, and Phillip never told Francesca that he lived in Mississippi. Instead, he misled her into believing he actually lived in Memphis. In 2004 Paige discovered the affair and blamed Phillip for it.  Phillip told Paige that  the affair was over but he was still seeing Francesca.  In 2005, Francesca moved to North Carolina and the affair ended but Phillip eventually flew to N.C. and professed his love for her.  The affair resumed and they spent time in many states except not Mississippi. In 2009 or 2010 Paige discovered he was still seeing Francesca as well as another woman. Paige got an ID divorce, moved to Texas, and filed this lawsuit against Francesca in Mississippi.   Francesca moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.  The trial court denied it.  The Miss.S.Ct. granted an interlocutory appeal and finds that Mississippi does not have personal jurisdiction over Francesca.

Our review of United States Supreme Court precedent makes it abundantly clear that our courts cannot constitutionally assert personal jurisdiction over Francesca in this case. And our own jurisprudence supports this holding. In every case where Mississippi courts have exercised personal jurisdiction over nonresident paramours, our courts have made it clear that the paramours knew they were engaged in a relationship with a person from Mississippi.

The case goes through all the usual personal jurisdiction considerations so this case has plenty of law you can use even outside the context of an alienation of affections case.

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