Mark Malecek is suing Dr. Derek Williams in North Carolina — alleging the doctor lured his wife into an affair. On paper, he’s suing for ‘alienation of affection and criminal conversation.’
A three-judge appeals panel unanimously ruled Tuesday that the charges against Williams were fair and important to divorce proceedings.
The angry husband sued the pediatric cardiologist in 2015 after discovering his wife was having an affair with Williams.
The wife, Amber Malecek, worked with Williams as a nurse at Wake Forest Baptist Health hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Malecek claimed Williams initiated the affair near the start of 2015 — lasting two months and disrupting an otherwise happy marriage.
But Williams’ legal team argued the charges violated his constitutional rights — freedom of speech and expression as well as his right to engage in intimate sexual activity.
A Forsyth County trial court agreed with Williams and tossed the case.
Richard Dietz, the judge who wrote the opinion for the appeals panel, disagreed with that argument.
The charges leveled by Malecek “are designed to prevent and remedy personal injury, and to protect the promise of monogamy that accompanies most marriage commitments,” Dietz wrote in the filing.
While these laws were “born out of misogyny” they’re often used in the present day “as tools for enterprising divorce lawyers seeking leverage over the other side.”
North Carolina is just one of a handful of states where it’s legal to sue a spouse’s paramour for an affair.
Some 200 cases of this type are filed annually in the Tar Heel state, Raleigh-based divorce lawyer Lisa Angel told the Associated Press.
“People who are suffering a divorce as a result of an affair, there’s a lot of economic damage,” she told the news service. “It’s not that hard to make the case, as the court is making it clear here, that there’s injury to a person when this happens.”
Williams lawyer told the AP that he hasn’t decided on appealing the court’s latest ruling.
North Carolina has some wild laws.