Hall County, GA–Wayne Gibbs is being vilified for breaking off his engagement, and now he’s been hit with a $150,000 judgment. Sounds like the guy’s only crime might have been to decide not to marry the woman when he found out he’d be taking on more debt–her debt–than he previously believed. Yes, she suffered economic losses due to relocating to be with him. But he helped pay her debts down. Can you imagine an indebted man being able to successfully sue a woman who broke off her engagement to him? He’d be laughed out of court. And why isn’t this “jilted bride” being criticized for apparently lying to the man about the amount of money she owed? There may well be more to this story than we’re being told, but it doesn’t sound quite right.
I could see being forced to pay for the cost of canceled wedding plans where the money has already been paid and is non-refundable, but not for simply breaking off an engagement. From Jilted Bride Awarded $150K After Wedding Called Off (WSBTV.com, 7/23/08):
HALL COUNTY, Ga. — The jury has awarded a Hall County woman $150,000 after she sued her former fiancé for calling their wedding off. RoseMary Shell sued her ex-fiancé, Wayne Gibbs, after he broke off their engagement in 2007. Shell argued her fiancé’s promise of marital bliss amounted to a binding contract. She said she left a high-paying job in Florida to be with Gibbs and she said she has suffered financial losses since their break-up. She also said she has suffered emotionally. Gibbs testified that he had taken Shell on trips and paid $30,000 of her debt while they were engaged. He said when he found out she had even more debt, he canceled the wedding by leaving Shell a note in their bathroom. Closing arguments were heard Wednesday morning and the jury awarded Shell $150,000 by Wednesday afternoon. “People shouldn’t be allowed to do that and hopefully he’ll think twice before he does it to someone else,” said Shell.