One parent can sue the other for allegedly poisoning his relationship with their children, an appeals court said May 3 in the first New Jersey recognition of a cause of action for infliction of emotional distress for such conduct.

A lower court had dismissed the claim as barred by the Heart Balm Statute, but the Appellate Division, in Segal v. Lynch, A-805-08, said the statute applies only to claims based on the loss of a marital or conjugal relationship.

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