This may make for a better movie than a torts case, but Sandrina Purdum, 31, alleges that Jennifer Angevine ruined her wedding in Queens, New York, by telling guests that she had been sleeping with her new husband, Harold Purdum, 31. She is alleging slander, infliction of emotion distress, and battery.
Angevine is accused of throwing a drink at one guest and jabbing the bride in the chest during the confrontation. Harold denies the affair.
The incident ruined more than the wedding. Sandrina refused to go home with her husband and returned to her parents while he bummed a couch with at his best man’s house. She is reported to have complained that she feels she cannot now have a baby “because I don’t trust my husband.”
Perhaps litigation will wipe away any lingering doubts and bring this loving couple back together. Of course, truth is a defense to slander. Thus, Angevine could seek to prove that an affair did occur. As for infliction of emotional distress, confirming the affair could greatly reduce the viability of that claim as well. There is no truth defense as in defamation but it is harder to claim an outrageous act in telling the truth in a boorish or rude way. However, if false, this does seems a malicious and outrageous act intended to ruin the wedding and the marriage. What is interesting is that the slander was directed at the husband, not the bride. She may argue that they are one person legally but that would be a rather novel (and rather ironic) claim. I am trying to find a copy of the complaint to determine if the couple has been re-joined legally as co-plaintiffs.
The case also raises an interesting aspect of slander per se. It could be argued that this fails into traditional categories of per se defamation involving moral turpitude and sexual misconduct. However, those categories are a bit dated. There was a time when (usually women) would routinely sue for statements questioning chastity. However, pre-marital sex is now quite common and the suggestion of being unchaste is not an obvious slander in most cases. Even at the height of this particular tort, men rarely sued. It is rare to see a slander case based on chastity leveled against a male. It reflects a certain sexism in the common law where men were expected to be a bit lascivious while women were expected to be chaste.
The battery claims appear based on the poking (since the guest does not appear to be part of the lawsuit).
The good news is that this lawsuit makes thousands of best men and maid-of-honors feel much better about their drunken toasts at the weddings of friends. In a blog dedicated to such disasters, the problem of speeches references affairs with one of the newly married couple appears to be a common problem.
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Kudos: Natasha-Christina Nadeem Akda