By: Rob Harris
I typically do not offer substantive legal advice on Golf Dispute Resolution, but today I’m making an exception:
Anyone inclined to engage in adulterous sexual relations with a married professional golfer should avoid hanky panky in Mississippi. Just ask Anna Cladakis, current wife of John Daly.
Allegedly, at a time when Mr. Daly was separated from–but still married to–Sherrie Allison Miller, he and Ms. Cladakis took their act(s) on the road and were “intimate” in Mississippi. Mississippi, for the uninitiated, is one of only a handful of states that still permit one to sue for “alienation of affections.”
Ms. Miller, apparently believing that her separation from Mr. Daly did not entitle him to pursue other amorous relationships. sued Ms. Cladakis claiming that her bedroom escapades with Mr. Daly in Misssissippi contributed to the breakdown of the marriage. (Perhaps Ms. Miller’s alleged steak knife attack on Mr. Daly during the 2007 St. Jude Classic also played a part, but I digress.)
Ms. Cladakis successfully convinced a lower court in Mississippi that, since both she and Mr. Daly lived in Tennessee, the Mississippi court did not have jurisdiction over the lawsuit. The Mississippi Court of Appeals believed otherwise, and last summer reinstated the lawsuit finding that “the alleged sexual activity between Cladakis and Daly within the state of Mississippi, which contributed to the breakup of Daly’s marriage with Miller, constituted a tort committed, at least in part, within this state,” and therefore conferred the Mississippi court with jurisdiction.
Posing, but not answering the “why Mississippi” question, the court continued: “For whatever reason Cladakis and Daly chose Mississippi for the site of their liaisons, [and] this Court finds that decision constituted a purposeful availment to activities within the state for purposes of personal jurisdiction.”
Ms. Cladakis took another shot, appealing to the Mississippi Supreme Court. On January 15, 2015, her appeal was rejected, setting the stage for a trial as to whether she should be held liable in damages to Ms. Miller for alienating John’s affections.
Those considering adulterous relationships with professional golfers, keep it clean in Mississippi.