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Two local people have Halifax County ties to record $30 million N.C. alienation of affection case

SoVaNow.com / March 16, 2011
A woman from South Boston, Betty Carlton Devin, has been ordered to pay more than $10 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages to Carol Monsour Puryear, the ex-wife of Raleigh, N.C., trucking company owner Donald Puryear, who also grew up in Halifax County.

Superior Court Judge Carl Fox handed down the judgment against Devin on Monday in an alienation of affection lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court. According to court record, the settlement is the largest of its kind in North Carolina history. North Carolina is one of the few states – along with Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah – where the alienation of affection torte is still recognized.

In a successful alienation of affection suit, the plaintiff must prove that a third party acted maliciously to contribute to or cause the loss of affection in a marriage.

Devin did not appear in court and did not have legal representation present.

Raleigh attorney Stephanie T. Jenkins, the ex-wife’s attorney, said the award was not based on the defendant’s ability to pay, and that the court had no evidence of her financial status.

Jenkins said the Puryears were married in 1994 and have one child; they divorced in 2009.

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