Remember Jerry Fitch?
He’s the wealthy Mississippi mogul who fell in love with one of his real estate company employees – the wife of plumber Johnny Valentine. The plumber’s marriage fell apart – due in no small part to his wife’s pregnancy by Fitch, who the woman went on to marry.
Valentine then sued Fitch for alienation of affection, winning $754,500 ($112,000 in punitive damages.)
Fitch appealed the punitive damage award and ultimately filed a certiorari petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that penalizing someone for stealing another’s wife is archaic and treats women like chattel. He even asked the court to step on and stay the jury award while the petition was pending, a move Justice Antonin Scalia declined to take.
Yesterday, the Court summarily denied the petition for certiorari, so Valentine will get the punitive damage award. At least Fitch got the girl.