RoseMary Shell was not willing to become just another jilted bride. When Wayne Gibbs refused to be her husband, a personal injury lawyer was willing to say “I do.” Now a Georgia jury has awarded Shell $150,000 for the breaking of a marital contract by her former fiance. In the meantime, a Hindu family in Massachusetts is suing for a contractual breach in an arranged marriage when the girl proved unattractive.
Gibbs broke of the marriage in 2007. Shell argued that she had already quit her job due to his promise of marriage and suffered emotional distress due to the termination of the marriage.
Gibbs testified that he had no idea how much in debt Shell was when he agreed to marry her and that he had already paid off $30,000 of her debt (and taken her on trips) when he finally decided that he wanted out. It probably didn’t help with the jury that he broke it off rather unromantically with a note left in the bathroom.
Of course, usually such promises are treated as unenforceable until the deed is done. After all, a court can hardly order fulfillment of the contract in a type of marital servitude. While palimony is possible after a long period of cohabitation in most states, a marriage promise very rarely is actionable.
Yet, recently in Massachusetts, an arranged marriage was called off when the Hindu family of the groom claimed that the girl was too ugly with protruding teeth and bad complexion. The family in Belchertown (yes, there is a town called Belchertown) actually filed for damages in response to the poor quality of the bride. For this story, click here.
The groom’s father, Vijai B. Pandey, 60, filed suit after meeting the girl in New Delhi and finding, according to the complaint, “she was ugly … with protruded bad teeth, and couldn’t speak English to hold a conversation.”