Judge awards jilted husband $8.8 million after his wife’s affair
A Durham County judge awarded the owner of a BMX bike stunt show company more than $8.8 million from the man he said seduced his wife and ruined his marriage.
Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson awarded Keith King more than $2.2 million in compensatory damages and three times that in punitive damages from Francisco Huizar III of San Antonio, Texas. Huizar’s attorney said they will appeal.
In the civil complaint filed in April 2017, King accused Huizar of criminal conversation, alienation of affection, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.
North Carolina is one of a handful of states that let jilted spouses sue people for criminal conversation when the person has sex with a married person before separation, and for alienation of affection when “genuine love and affection” has been destroyed by the person.
Some lawsuits have yielded significant damages, including a $30 million penalty in a 2011 Wake County case. Ability to pay is not a factor in compensatory damages, but a judge may consider it when levying punitive damage.
Keith and Danielle King married April 3, 2010, in Durham, and they now have a 5-year-old daughter, according to court documents and testimony.
BMX AND STUNT SHOWS
Keith King became interested in bike stunts when he received an Evel Knievel bike for Christmas in 1976. He later founded BMX Stunt Shows.
“Once what was only a dream became a reality as Keith made his mark as a professional flatlander, competing in both the 1997 and 1998 X Games,” the company’s website states. “What sets Keith and the King BMX Stunt Shows apart from other stunt shows is that to this day he still rides competitively in his own shows, as well as being an outspoken advocate for the sport.”
The website states the shows feature some of the top ramp riders in BMX, along with flatland riders, inline skaters and skateboarders.
However, King’s attorney, Joanne Foil, said the affair and an assault by Huizar cost BMX Stunt Shows revenue and an employee — Danielle King worked for the company — and required her client to spend more money on household help, child care, and counseling.
Huizar’s attorney, Cheri Patrick, said Huizar was not responsible for a marriage that was damaged before her client met Danielle King.
Keith King, who is 15 years older than his wife, controlled her access to money, manipulated her low self-esteem, brought porn into the relationship, looked through her phone every other week, put her to work without pay, and continued to schedule shows after she said it was too much work and she needed help with her daughter, Patrick said. He tracked her movements and insisted she keep her hair blond, and wear bikinis and high heels, Patrick said.
“This marriage needed one more blow before it was over,” Patrick said.
In testimony, Danielle King said she pursued Huizar and that the marriage had been unhappy from the first year.
Patrick also questioned expense estimates provided by Keith King’s experts and financial statements showing his company’s revenue dropping from nearly $400,000 in 2015 to about $125,000 in 2017.
HOW THEY MET
In August 2015, Danielle King met Huizar during a BMX show in New York where he was working at an insurance company booth, according to testimony. He makes about $84,000 a year as a marketing tour manager, according to testimony.
Keith King had gone to New York with his wife and daughter, but he left to go to another show in Colorado.
“When he left, guess who moved right on in,” Foil said.
On Aug. 28, 2015, Keith King saw phone calls to a strange number on his phone bill and called Huizar and asked him to leave his wife alone. He thought the affair was over at that point, Foil said.
But on Aug. 31, 2015, Huizar rented a room less than a mile from the Kings’ home. He returned once in September, twice in October and three times in November, testimony indicated.
“And that doesn’t count the times where he met her elsewhere,” Foil said.
From mid-August 2015 to Dec. 10, 2015, Huizar and Danielle King spoke on the phone more than 6,187 minutes, Foil said.
In February 2016, Keith King gave his wife a spa weekend at the beach for her birthday after she asked for a peaceful week- end. She posted on Facebook praising her husband for the gift.
“Guess who the heck tagged along?” Foil said. “Mr. Huizar.”
“He just conveniently popped up,” Foil said. “There is no way that this marriage could have humanly been saved with the level of this man’s involvement.”
In another meeting, the King family was on a beach vacation around spring 2016 when Huizar rented a place nearby, according to testimony.
Testimony started in the case in June, but was delayed over time due to court schedules, and resumed on Monday.
When Hudson issued his ruling, he said it was “a textbook case” of how not to end a marriage in North Carolina and the handful of other states that allow alienation of affection and criminal conversation lawsuits.