Posted by: zhak39 | March 24, 2010

Down Hard Stupid

UPDATE:  In a state where the art of the flea market puts Bedouin haggling to shame, a counter-offer has been put on the table.  Having lived with Shackin’ Up Shackelford for the last five years, Anne has decided how much having a relationship with him is really worth.

I have been watching this story infiltrate the internet not just because it’s local news that quickly went international, not just because I used to work with one of the principals but because the basis of it is just down hard stupid.  A two-day jury trial just awarded Cindy Shackelford, the estranged wife of  a husband gone bad (and who happened to be a former North Carolina Lawyer)  9 million dollars.  Absolutely, the wife deserves something.  She was married for 32 years (5 of them legally separated) and she chose caretaking children over career which wreaks havoc with professional continuity.  And her husband?  Admitted in the local paper that he had been sleeping around for 30 of the 32 years of their marriage.  Once his youngest child was 18 (meaning by North Carolina law he has no legal or financial obligation as a father), he sold the family home, emptied the bank accounts and bolted for upstate New York where he lives in Aurora County with his girlfriend.  As part of the separation agreement the court awarded the wife $5000 a month alimony, not a bad gig.

‘Cept he never paid it.  So yeah.  Over five years he reneged on $300K.  It was about time for her to work through our esteemed court system, drag his ass back to North Carolina, attach the royalties to a book he published a couple years ago (with his current mistress), foreclose his house in New York.  Whatever.  Squeeze out some financial payment.

Only she didn’t do that.  Because we live in North Carolina where the law is just down hard stupid.  Instead of addressing the real issues–her jerk of a life partner,  choices they made, where obligations begin and end, she went after his girlfriend.

And she sued her.

And she won.

In a two day jury trial where the defendant, Anne Lundquist,  who had a fool for a lawyer represented herself and then didn’t show up, Shackelford was awarded $9,000,000.  That’s millions in case you thought it was a typo.

So which one of these savory characters did I know–Cindy Shackle-my-man Shackelford or Anne the Whore-of-Aurora Lundquist?  It was the latter.  She was the director of students at a small Christian College here in Greensboro.  Where one of her jobs was to develop the Honor Code for students.  Since then she has moved up the academic administrative ladder from bitsy conservative school to bitsy conservative school leaving a paper trail of managing codes for student behavior in her wake.  In fact, her initial connection with the guy in question (is there a guy involved here?) was to explore legal ramifications in student life issues.  They even developed conference workshops and published a book in 2007 on risk management and liability issues in student life.  Irony upon irony.

Anne is not a horrible person.  Heedless?  Yes.  Self-absorbed?  Yes.  Ambitious, big-fish-little-pond, Yertle-ish maybe?  All of those things.  But, she did not abandon a spouse to whom she made a legal commitment or religious oaths.  She did not abscond with a priceless art work.  And if she conceived a malicious plan specifically to individually destroy the institution of marriage, well, look at what she actually got.

Keep U I on the Prize

By the way, if for some reason you wanted to pull this picture off the Wells College site where Anne is the Dean of Students, you are out of luck.  They are already starting to pull the plug.

So he reneges to the tune of $300,000 but a North Carolina jury decides that Anne can have ’em for a bargain $9,000,000.

Is this nuts or what?

Most states abandoned their alienation of affection and criminal conversation laws in the late 19th or early 20th century.  These civil laws hearken back to a code where women could not own property and for the most part marriage made them part of the property of the estate owner.  If a woman strayed, there would be no point in trying to get remuneration from her  because the man already had 100% of the assets.  So to discourage pillaging of a husband’s booty, this law made it possible to wring a financial payoff if an interloper daring to interfere with the husband’s human property.  Now most states have finally recognized that human beings are not property but a handful still have these on the books.  North Carolina is the only state that is really active with about 200 suits a year.  In the past these have been settled for much, much less.  The greatest award in memory was 1.4 million and it was a really unusual award.

There is another aspect of how this law has evolved in North Carolina over the last hundred years that came up last summer.  Elizabeth Edwards toyed with the idea of using it not to go after her husband’s hussy but to go after the aide that helped cover up her husband’s affair.  After all, he actually has some money and is making more by the day.  Since the cover up facilitated the continuance of the affair, Andrew Young was maliciously interfering with the affection between husband and wife.  In numerous cases that have been coming to light,  North Carolina marriage counselors are revealing that even though they recognized cases of clear abuse and negligence in marriages they were legally bound to encourage dysfunctional couples to stay together.  The sanctity of marriage in North Carolina is more important than the health, welfare, and safety of individuals in marriage and the children bound to abusive households.

Our local newspaper has an editor who strongly defends this law and applauds the outcome of this case (sanctimonious prig).  He denied that this law was about property or safety of children or protection of a spouse.  Old Testament guy that he is he basically said it’s about vindication and upholding the sanctity of marriage against unscrupulous immoral parasites. Interestingly,  the North Carolina judiciary is all about people suing individuals in this type of case.  Indeed, they believe that they have jurisdiction over the behavior of residents of other states who have never lived here.  But suggest an individual sue a corporation?  Think this way, can a spouse sue Anheuser Busch if the other spouse prefers to suck on a bottle rather than giving a little court sanctioned affection?  Don’t count on it.

I wish Anne luck.  She always liked to be the center of attention and she is passionate about and effective in pushing her own agenda.  If other people’s issues happen to coincide with her own she’ll take them along.  The attention is on.  I hope she can act in a positive way to bring raitonaility on this issue and put a good dent in this stupid and archaic code.


  1. Note to self:

    Move to North Carolina with Hillary, treat her like dirt, force her to go off on her own and, the moment she finds a kindred spirit, man or woman, sue!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Actually, Bill, you don’t have move Hillary here at all. According to William Lawson Brown v. Mark P. Ellis, because we North Carolinians are so morally superior, our long-arm statute allows our court personal jurisdiction over state lines ( Photoshop some compromising pictures of her joining the mile high club while flying over Charlotte. That should be sufficient for the NC Supreme Court.

    Better, sue the Obama administration for making her work too many hours. When was the last time she got her can in the kitchen and hustled up you some vittles?

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