United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division
CYNTHIA R. STEWART PLAINTIFF
MELISSA ANN “MISSY” WISINGER DEFENDANT
LAWRENCE STEWART THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT
BRAMLETTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Melissa Ann Wisinger
(“Missy”)'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
30); Plaintiff Cynthia Stewart (“Cynthia”)'s
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 34); and Third-Party
Defendant Lawrence Stewart (“Dr. Stewart”)'s
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 36). For the reasons
discussed below, these motions for summary judgment (Docs.
30, 34, and 36) are DENIED.
an alienation of affection case. Cynthia originally brought
this case against Missy, alleging several claims arising out
of the extramarital affair between Missy and Cynthia's
husband, Dr. Stewart. Since then, each party has moved for
summary judgment, arguing that different parties cannot prove
one or more elements of their claims under Mississippi
December 2015, Dr. Stewart had an Otolaryngology a/k/a Ear,
Nose, and Throat practice in McComb, Mississippi. Doc. 1, p.
2. In early 2014, Missy was a patient of Dr. Stewart's
business partner and encountered Dr. Stewart. Doc. 36, p. 1.
Dr. Stewart also began treating Missy and her children.
Id. In Spring 2014, Missy and Dr. Stewart engaged in
an extramarital relationship. Doc. 1, p. 2; Doc. 31, p. 2;
Doc. 36, p. 1.
and Dr. Stewart allege that Missy confessed the affair to her
husband and that either Missy or her husband contacted state
and federal law enforcement officials as well as the
Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure (“the
Board”) to report Dr. Stewart's affair with his
patient. Doc. 1, p. 2; Doc. 36, p. 1. Missy became a
confidential informant aiding the United States Drug
Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) in an
investigation of Dr. Stewart. Doc. 1, p. 2; Doc. 31, p. 2;
Doc. 36, p. 2. Dr. Stewart was arrested, pled guilty to a
single felony charge, and was sentenced by the United States
District Court in September 2016.
Board allowed Dr. Stewart to maintain his medical license
with certain conditions, including his participation in
programs for physicians who have engaged in improper activity
while practicing medicine. Doc. 37, p. 2. Dr. Stewart was
terminated from his medical practice by his business partner.
Id. Dr. Stewart and Cynthia allege that Dr.
Stewart's license conditions and felony conviction have
prevented Dr. Stewart from practicing medicine. Doc. 37, p.
2; Doc. 1, p. 3. They contend that this resulted in financial
consequences, which “caused them to lose their home in
McComb, Pike County, Mississippi, and directly resulted in
[Cynthia] having to move to the State of Florida to reside
with and/or near relatives.” Doc. 1, p. 3; Doc. 37; p.
2. They also allege that Missy and/or her husband
“further provided information to private individuals,
including but not limited to Bryan Harbour, in Pike and
Lincoln Counties, Mississippi, who then disseminated that
information to the general public.” Doc. 34, p. 2; Doc.
36, p. 2.
sued Missy, claiming negligent infliction of emotional
distress; negligence and gross negligence; and alienation of
affection. See Doc. 1, pp. 4-6. Cynthia seeks damages and
injunctive relief to prohibit Missy from contacting Dr.
Stewart. Doc. 1, p. 6. Missy responded with counterclaims,
claiming malicious prosecution and negligent infliction of
emotional distress against Cynthia. See Doc. 5, pp. 7-8.
Missy added third-party defendant Dr. Stewart to this cause,
demanding relief for intentional and negligent infliction of
emotional distress; and negligence and gross negligence. Doc.
5, p. 10. Each party has moved for summary judgment.
judgment is proper if a party shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and that it is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). If the
movant shows the absence of a disputed material fact, the
non-movant “must go beyond the pleadings and designate
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” McCarty v. Hillstone Rest. Grp., Inc.,
864 F.3d 354, 357 (5th Cir. 2017).
Court views facts and draws reasonable inferences in the
non-movant's favor. Vann v. City of Southaven,
Miss., 884 F.3d 307, 309 (5th Cir. 2018). The Court
neither assesses credibility nor weighs evidence at the
summary-judgment stage. Gray v. Powers, 673 F.3d
352, 354 (5th Cir. 2012).
moves for summary judgment on Cynthia's alienation of
affection claim. See Doc. 31.
alienation of affection claim requires a finding of the
following elements: (1) wrongful conduct of the defendant;
(2) loss of affection or consortium; and (3) causal
connection between such conduct and loss. Hancock v.
Watson, 962 So.2d 627, 630 (Miss. Ct. App. 2007);
Fitch v. Valentine, 959 So.2d 1012, 1025 (Miss.
2007). Alienation of affection is a recognized cause of
action in Mississippi, the purpose of which is to protect the
marriage relationship and provide a remedy for intentional
conduct that causes a loss of consortium. Fitch v.
Valentine, 959 So.2d 1012, 1020 (Miss. 2007).
Mississippi Supreme Court held, “where a husband is
wrongfully deprived of his rights to the ‘services and
companionship and consortium of his wife,' he has a cause
of action ‘against one who has interfered with his
domestic relations.'” Camp v. Roberts, 462
So.2d 726, 727 (Miss. 1985)(citing Walter v. Wilson,228 So.2d ...