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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that an Illinois woman’s privacy wasn’t violated when a South Dakota man sent her evidence that her husband was having an affair with his wife.

Federal Judge Roberto Lange rejected Virginia Flaum’s privacy claim against Richard Hylland, the Argus Leader reported .

Hylland had sent Flaum printouts of romantic emails and text messages between his wife, Traci, and Flaum’s husband, Russell. Hylland later sent the evidence to Flaum’s children.

Lange ruled that Virginia Flaum didn’t have an expectation of privacy in the messages between her husband and Traci Hylland.

“A reasonable person would not find that Richard committed a highly offensive intrusion into Virginia’s seclusion by reading text messages and emails that Russell sent to Traci’s electronic devices concerning Traci’s alleged affair with Russell,” Lange wrote.

Lange also ruled that Virginia Flaum has the right to discover whether Traci Hylland sent her husband emails that would bolster her allegation that Traci alienated her husband’s affections.

Both Richard Hylland and Virginia Flaum sued their spouse’s lover under South Dakota’s alienation of affection law. South Dakota is among a half-dozen states that still allow lawsuits accusing a cheating spouse’s lover of alienation of affection.

The Hyllands were from South Dakota, while the Flaums were from Illinois. Both couples had homes in Indian Wells, California, where Traci Hylland and Russell Flaum first met. Traci and Russell met at a country club in late 2014, and began playing tennis together.

Court records show Traci Hylland returned in 2015 to South Dakota, where she and Russell Flaum continued to communicate and discussed leaving their spouses.

Both lawsuits are ongoing.


Information from: Argus Leader,