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Cases of Interest: Torts
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

ALASKA: Lundquist v. Lundquist, 923 P.2d 42 (Alaska 1996).
An award of punitive damages to a spouse should be apportioned in the same manner as the underlying compensatory damages award.
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ALASKA: Hatten v. Hatten, 917 P.2d 667 (Alaska 1996).
The actual character of damages recovered through settlement of a spouse's tort suit, rather than the formal characterization of damages in a settlement agreement, controls whether the damages are separate or marital property.
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CALIFORNIA: Duffy v. Duffy, No. B136160 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 22, 2001).
The wife alleged that the husband breached his fiduciary duty to her by failing to disclose the nature of the parties' investments during the course of the marriage, under Family Code 1100 and 721.
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CALIFORNIA: Dale v. Dale, ___ Cal. App. 4th ___, 78 Cal. Rptr. 2d 513 (1998).
Absent a pending dissolution proceeding in which the parties' property and support rights have yet to be finally determined, a plaintiff who contends she suffered injury because her former spouse tortiously concealed community assets from her, thereby preventing her from fully presenting her case in a dissolution proceeding, is entitled to bring a subsequent tort action based on the alleged concealment.
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CALIFORNIA: Askew v. Askew, ___ Cal. App. 4th ___, 28 Cal. Rptr. 2d 284, 294 ( 1994).
Husband and wife married in 1977. In 1991 they separated, and an action for divorce was filed. In addition, in October 1991 husband filed a separate civil suit for fraud.
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COLORADO: In re Marriage of Gance, No. 99CA1627 (Colo. Ct. App. March 29, 2001).
In a combined action for independent equitable relief and damages, the husband appealed a judgment modifying permanent orders for property distribution and maintenance and awarding the wife damages, exemplary damages, and attorney's fees, based upon the husband's fraudulent concealment of assets and income in a dissolution proceeding.
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CONNECTICUT: Delahunty v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., 236 Conn. 582, 674 A.2d 1290 (1996).
The doctrine of res judicata does not bar a party to a dissolution action from bringing a postdissolution action against a former spouse for damages caused by conduct that occurred during the marriage.
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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Lewis v. Lewis, 708 A.2d 249 (D.C. 1998).
The proceeds of a settlement for the wrongful death of the wife's child by a prior union were her separate property.
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FLORIDA: White v. White, 705 So. 2d 123 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1998).
The husband's unrebutted testimony that his personal injury settlement was to compensate for future injuries, losses, and damages established that the entire settlement was his separate property.
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IDAHO: Neal v. Neal, 20 Fam. L. Rep. (BNA) 1295, 1296 (Idaho 1994).
A husband filed a complaint for divorce from his wife, who then filed a tort action for criminal conversation against the husband's paramour. The trial court dismissed the criminal conversation cause of action. The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal.
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ILLINOIS: Amato v. Greenquist, 23 Fam. L. Rep. (BNA) 1300 (Ill. App. Ct. 1997).
It has traditionally been extremely difficult for a spouse to pursue a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against a member of the clergy who commences an affair with the other spouse during the course of marital counseling.
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MICHIGAN: Gramer v. Gramer, ___ Mich. App. ___, 523 N.W.2d 861 (1994).
The husband's tort claims against the wife were barred by the release provision of the parties' property settlement agreement.
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MISSOURI: Heslop v. Heslop, 967 S.W.2d 249 (Mo. Ct. App. 1998).
The husband failed to show that any part of his FELA settlement was his separate property under the "analytic" approach for classifying compensation awards. During the parties' separation, the husband received a net settlement of approximately $52,000 on his claim under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) for injuries sustained on his railroad job two years previously. The trial court classified the settlement as marital property in its entirety.
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NEW JERSEY: Brennan v. Orban, 145 N.J. 282, 678 A.2d 667 (1996).
Family courts have discretion to decide whether or not the victim of a marital tort will receive a jury trial on her tort claim that is joined with a divorce action.
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PENNSYLVANIA: Atkinson v. Evans, 2001 Pa. Super. 344 (Dec. 5, 2001).
The plaintiff sought damages for the defendant's affair with the plaintiff's wife. The plaintiff's cause of action was styled as one for "intentional interference with a contractual relationship."
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TEXAS: Schlueter v. Schlueter, 975 S.W.2d 584 (Tex. 1998).
No independent tort cause of action exists between spouses for fraud on the community because a wronged spouse has an adequate remedy for fraud through the division of community property.
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TEXAS: Brinkman v. Brinkman, 966 S.W.2d 780 (Tex. App. 1998).
The wife's assault claim against the husband was barred by res judicata.
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WYOMING: McCulloh v. Drake, Nos. 99-136, 99-137 (Wyo. June 5, 2001).
In this case, the court adopted the rule that intentional-infliction-of-emotional-distress claims may be brought in a divorce action.
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