RALEIGH, N.C., March 22 (UPI) -- A North Carolina woman has won $9 million from her husband's alleged mistress based on a law evolved from when women were considered property, officials say.
Cynthia Shackelford, 60, won her case against Anne Lundquist, suing under North Carolina's centuries-old "alienation of affection" law, alleging Lundquist broke up her marriage of 33 years, ABC news reported Monday.
"She set her sights on him. ... She knew he was married," Shackelford said of Lundquist. "You don't go after married men and break up families."
North Carolina, one of seven states recognizing alienation of affection claims, sees about 200 such cases a year, ABC said.
Alienation of affection claims evolved from common law, which considered women property of their husbands. The reasoning was if another man was accused of stealing his "property," a husband could sue him for damages, notes Lee Rosen of the Rosen Law Firm of Raleigh, N.C.
The law applies to both men and women.
Shackelford claimed in the lawsuit Lundquist began "deliberately to seduce" Allan Shackelford in November 2004 or earlier. After examining credit card records and cellphone bills, Shackelford confronted her husband, who at first denied an affair.
"It was at that point (that) I went and saw the attorney," Cynthia Shackelford said. "I said, 'This is not going to fly anymore.'"