McDermott v. Reynolds

In McDermott v. Reynolds, 260 Va. 98, 530 S.E.2d 902 (2000), the Virginia Supreme Court considered whether 8.01-220 barred the plaintiff husband's action against his former wife's paramour for intentional infliction of emotion distress. Id., 99. The defendant in McDermott noted that the action alleged would support an action sounding in alienation of affections prohibited by 8.01-220 because it resulted in "severe embarrassment and humiliation to the plaintiff and his three children." Id., 100-101. The court stated that "when the Virginia legislature enacted Code 8.01-220, it manifested its intent to abolish common law actions seeking damages for a particular type of conduct, regardless of the name that a plaintiff assigns to that conduct." Id., 101. The court focused its attention on the conduct because that methodology allowed the court to consider "the legislative intent manifested in the statute." Id., 101. The court concluded that the statute prohibited the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress by relying on the legislative intent manifested in the statute, and similar statutes from other jurisdictions, to remove conduct cited in the statute from civil liability. Id. That, the court stated, was "foreclosing a revival of the abolished tort of alienation of affection asserted in the guise of an action for intentional infliction of emotional distress." Id., 103.