Legal Research Blog


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

Lawdable Quotes: Plato

No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding.

~ Plato

Lawdable Quotes: Aristotle

It makes no difference whether a good man has defrauded a bad man, or a bad man defrauded a good man, or whether a good or bad man has committed adultery: the law can look only to the amount of damage done.


New York Anticipates Constitutional Challenge of Video Game Law

New York Governor David Patterson recently signed a bill regarding video game controls into law, but state legislators already know it was most likely a waste of their time and taxpayers’ money. The reason for this notion is that the video game debate has become one of the most heated in New York history. While the new law went through a series of changes and interpretations, it came out of the legislature this week with only a few provisions focusing on parental controls and game ratings. Supporters and opponents alike are displeased with the outcome with some believing the bill will do nothing to end violence among New York’s youth and others, that government control on this segment of society is by no means necessary.

Challengers include members of civil rights, entertainment and tax reform groups who argue, among other things, that the legislature was knowingly wasting their constituents’ tax money by allowing this bill to pass. Opponents are confident the law will be declared unconstitutional in court, a thought that is probably not far off base considering similar laws around the country have already met this fate. Still, the state government is hoping that their removal of certain segments which would have made it illegal to produce excessively violent games will lead a judge to think twice before striking down the law.

While the law was cut back to only require parental controls on all game consoles by 2010 and more obvious age ratings on covers, it is also supporting extensive research in the field of video game effects. The state is hopeful that if they must face their opponents, they will be armed with evidence that video games have a direct effect on teenage behavior.

Source: MSNBC

Who Said Security Breaches Were Always a Bad Thing?

The BBC reports that the fare cards for two European public transportation systems have seen their first major security breach, but the hackers responsible are not your everyday criminals. Researchers from the Radboud University in the Netherlands discovered an all too easy way to create copies of the card which could ultimately provide free transportation to anyone who can access one. The researchers never had the intention of using their knowledge to take advantage of the transportation system but maker of the card’s chip, NXP, has been fighting to prevent the information release fearing the worst from those who might get their hands on the information. The researchers aimed to publish their results, along with the process of copying the card’s chip, in time for a security conference to be held later this year.

Lead researcher Bart Jacobs insists the knowledge must be shared to prevent further breaches of this nature but NXP responded by filing an injunction to stop the university. Representatives from NXP point to the inability of the systems currently utilizing their chip to make rapid enough changes to hold off on abuse of the system. Currently, the chip is being implemented in fare cards all over the world, primarily in Europe, and estimates of its usage stand at 1 billion. Smartcards were developed in order to provide easier, less expensive access to public transportation for frequent travelers, but with users getting their hands on fraudulent cards, the whole system could be damaged.

Despite NXP’s warnings, a Dutch judge has just ruled that the Radboud researchers work will be published and distributed at the upcoming conference. To add insult to injury, the judge after overturning the injunction, declared,

“Damage to NXP is not the result of the publication of the article but of the production and sale of a chip that appears to have shortcomings.”

It is clear that this judicial system believes those who have brought injury upon themselves deserves no mercy. Researchers along with security officials throughout Europe are praising the judge’s decision claiming that in the long run, exposing the flaws in classified information will lead to a system much less susceptible to a security breach.

Source: BBC