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Jury awards $500,000 to spurned wife

Posted June 2, 2009

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— A Hoke County woman owes her husband's former wife $500,000 after a jury ruled that she broke up a 50-year marriage.

Laura Patterson sued Herlinda Basurto in December 2007, alleging alienation of affection and criminal conversation, a legal term for adultery.

Herlinda Basurto, alienation of affection lawsuit Woman: Husband worth lawsuit, settlement

Patterson blamed Basurto, 30, for seducing her husband, Alford Patterson, 69. The couple married in 1957 and divorced last year, and Alford Patterson and Basurto subsequently married.

"The facts of the case were very compelling," said Angela Hatley, the attorney for Laura Patterson. "(Basurto) certainly had motive and intent to destroy this marriage."

The suit states that the Pattersons reared two children and "acquired substantial property and wealth" during their marriage from the mobile home park they owned off U.S. Highway 401 Business in Raeford. It alleges that Basurto met Alford Patterson in 2005 when the Pattersons were selling their business – Basurto's brother bought part of it – and that they had a not-so-secret affair for several months.

Laura Patterson said in the suit that she was so humiliated that she moved out of her Raeford house to a mobile home in Holden Beach that she and her husband own.

A jury deliberated for 30 minutes Friday before ruling in her favor.

"I don’t think that the jury knew what they were doing,” Alford Patterson said. "I mean, think about it. Half a million dollars, and Laura's sitting at the beach now as if she's going to get that, which she won't. I mean, you don't get something that isn't there."

He said the 50 years they spent together was anything but marital bliss.

"(We) had problems from Day 1," he said. “Laura tried to portray this as being the most lovable marriage that ever hit the United States."

Laura Patterson had several affairs of her own through the years, her ex-husband said.

She denied that allegation.

"I waited four years for this day," she said in a telephone interview. "I wanted everyone to know what happened. I've never been with another man in my life except my husband. Everyone who knows me will verify it."

Hatley said she would make every effort to ensure the that settlement is paid.

Basurto said she thinks her husband is worth every penny.

"I love that guy. He's good to me and my family, and I love him," she said.


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  • saraibalan Jun 5, 2009

    This was an unfair trial because at least one of the jury on duty is also a woman whose husband cheated on her. This verdict should be negated.



    "I just served jury duty on an Alienation of Affection/ Criminal Conversation suit. This woman had LESS evidence than I do and we awarded her 500 K.

    Here's the link to "my" story> I'm thinking about telling OW to anticipate being served!"

  • Milkman Jun 3, 2009

    The real issue is that NC law forces a 50%/50% split of assets, without regard to fault. If adulterers were forced to pay when the marriage dissolves, via giving additional marital property to the injured party, then there would be no need for laws like these.

  • Piny tek Jun 3, 2009

    This woman is obviously very bitter and it's no wonder she got dumped.

  • Piny tek Jun 3, 2009

    paulej: Definitely agree with you. Laura was going to give this man a heart attack by being an impossible woman. If he met someone that loved life has to continue

  • enidanadine Jun 3, 2009

    I've read all of these comments [and judgements] and it seems that everybody missed an important point. The wife left him. She dissolved the marriage. It doesn't matter 'why' she left, because the other woman or whatever..the fact is that she left the marriage. There are a lot of marriages where one or the other 'forgives' the cheating spouse and the marriage is healed. This first wife just took off, and did not try to heal the marriage.
    I'm not laying blame on anybody. It happens. But while people here are taking sides and blaming one or the other, remember, it takes two to make or break a marriage.

  • angimomma Jun 3, 2009

    Thats true NCReader, however, when someone (male or female) knowingly continue the relationship, they are as much to blame. Lets face it, in most cases, the married person doesnt leave their spouse but strings along the mistress....when that happens, we say the mistress got what she had coming, why not in these cases? Fact is, anyone who gets involved with someone knowingly thats married, they're just asking for trouble. And I dont know why they'd even want to subject themselves to the humiliation in the first place. If you are woman enough to get your own man, ya just aint woman enough at all!

  • NC Reader Jun 3, 2009

    The problem that I have with this law is that it punishes the wrong person. The "other man" or "other woman" is certainly doing something wrong. However, more fault lies with the cheating spouse. That person, not the third party, is the one who took the marriage vows. The idea that another person can just swoop in and "make" a married person do what he/she wants is ludicrous.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 3, 2009

    North Carolina is one of the last couple of states to still have this law on the books.

    The secret is, if you're gonna cheat, divorce, or have an affair. Move out of North Carolina first.

  • Alexia.1 Jun 3, 2009

    Army Brat I Am, what he did was "wrong" according to my own values. But, let's put this into perspective. He did not kill anybody, he didn't rape anybody, and he did not steal money or bring physical harm to anybody. He met another person that he wanted to be with, apparently. So, it causes emotional "harm", but apparently staying with her brought emotional harm. Can every unhappy man under the thumb of some grumpy wife divorce her and sue? What is the passion is not so good, if not outright horrible? What about then? Absurd? So is this law.

  • Army Brat I Am Jun 3, 2009

    Good for her!! I'm wondering if the people who want this law gone are people who have cheated and don't want this to happen to them?? It's really not about the money, it's the fact that what was done was WRONG!!! Some people just want a sincere apology. But I'd take the money!!