Mistress Sued for Affair Wants $9M Verdict Thrown Out

Anne Lundquist claims she had 'no idea' trial was occurring.

ByABC News
March 19, 2010, 5:42 PM

March 26, 2010 — -- Anne Lundquist, a New York woman who was hit with a $9 million settlement for having an affair with a married man, is asking for the court to reverse the verdict.

In papers filed Thursday, Lundquist claims the jury may have been biased and explains she was not present at the trial because she didn't know when it was taking place. Instead of $9 million, she says, the aggrieved wife should only be awarded $1.

"I had absolutely no idea that the trial was occurring and never received any notice of a court date on March 15 and March 16," she writes. She also claims the plaintiff's lawyer gave her the wrong date for the trial and never corrected the mistake.

Lundquist, 49, was stunned by the award earlier this month, after her lover's wife, Cynthia Shackelford, sued her under a centuries-old North Carolina law for "alienation of affection."

A jury awarded the aggrieved wife $5 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages.

Cynthia Shackelford, 60, told ABC News.com last week that even if she doesn't see the full settlement, she is using the lawsuit to send a message about extramarital affairs.

"I wanted other people to understand, before they do it, how much it hurts," she said.

Cynthia and Allan Shackelford had been married for 33 years and have two adult children.

The case, with all the makings for a romantic thriller, has made nationwide headlines over the past month.

Shackelford's story could have been no different than that of any other aggrieved wife: the former teacher thought her husband was deeply in love with her. Then came his late nights at the office and suspicious charges on his credit card and cell phone bills. And finally, a private investigator confirmed what she had feared: Her husband, she said, was having an affair.

"She set her sights on him. ... She knew he was married," Shackelford said of Lundquist. "You don't go after married men and break up families."

In a post to the Greensboro News & Record Web site, Allan Shackelford said his marriage didn't fail because of Lundquist.

Shackelford, 62, wrote that he had had "numerous affairs going back to the first two years" of his marriage and that the couple had "significant problems in their marriage for years, including three rounds of marital counseling that failed."

The large dollar figures surrounding the Shackelford case are unusual, but the lawsuit itself is not -- at least not in North Carolina. The state is one of just seven states to recognize alienation of affection claims, in which spouses can sue third parties that they allege interfered in their marriages.

The state sees some 200 alienation of affection claims a year, according to the Rosen Law Firm of Raleigh, N.C., and firm founder Lee Rosen said that he handles about six to a dozen such cases each year.