/ July 27, 2008

Better Think Three Times Before Leaving Your Fiance

If you’re looking for the latest in lawsuits, you’ve come to the right place. Most think they’ve heard it all when it comes to who’s suing who, but this Florida woman has thrown us a curve ball. RoseMary Shell, former bride-to-be, has determined that the perfect solution for what do you do when your fiancé says “I don’t”, is to sue him, plain and simple.

Shell had been with fiancé Wayne Gibbs on and off for seven years, years in which Shell says Gibbs promised marriage but continued to delay it. Two years ago, Gibbs appeared to making good on his word when he issued an official proposal, assisted in moving Shell away from her home, job and life in Pensacola, Florida and set a date. It was to Shell’s horror when Gibbs postponed yet again, this time with a note in the couple’s bathroom. Perhaps it was the nature of the message or maybe just the thought of leaving everything behind for an empty promise, but Shell decided enough was enough. She filed a lawsuit against Gibbs for financial and emotional damages contending that she had given up a stable career and financial independence based on his promise of marriage. Shell and her lawyer knew they would have a tough case to fight, attempting to prove that an engagement serves as a binding contract.

To their surprise, the judge ruled in favor of Ms. Shell’s claim awarding her $150,000, a number that has her and many others in shock. Gibbs had argued that he left Shell after realizing how much debt she was in, concerned that it could damage his own financial success but the judge would not have it. In spite of Shell’s big win, she announced on The Today Show that she was more satisfied with the potential of new precedence when it comes to an engagement. Gibbs will no doubt be appealing the decision as their engagement, along with most others, was never put in writing.

This case produces a whole slew of questions. Does the verbal agreement upon marriage constitute the same contractual agreement that the marriage itself does? In the UK, the engagement ring is considered a valid sign of the promise of marriage but it has not been so black and white in the US. Even so, does Shell really deserve a reward for being dumped and if so, that much? Should engagements be considered anything less than a binding agreement? The Today Show is tallying votes here or let us know what you think in the comments portion of our blog.

Source: MSNBC

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