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Friday, October 26, 2007

Insurance not available for doctor who stole a wife

A South Dakota doctor who is being sued for stealing another man’s wife has been unsuccessful in his attempt to get his insurance company to pay for it.

The case, which went all the way to the state’s Supreme Court, involves a lawsuit brought by David Kalt against Dr. Thomas Harbert for alienation of affections after Kalt's wife, Peggy, went to work at a medical clinic and had an affair with Harbert.

Harbert sought coverage for the suit from State Farm Fire and Casualty Company under his personal liability insurance policy. The insurer fought the request.

The Supreme Court of Minnesota’s neighbor to the west said that the insurance policy does not cover the lawsuit because alienation of affections is an intentional harm and allowing insurance coverage is contrary to public policy.

Hummm … I guess it was worth a try anyway.

Nonetheless, I hope I’m not the only one who finds this whole thing a bit offensive. The claim for alienation of affection is rooted in the outdated idea that a woman is the property of her husband. South Dakota is one of only a handful of states that still allow people to bring such a claim. Fortunately, Minnesota legislators have seen fit to eliminate it.

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