Attorney Dominique A. Buttitta, 32, is not someone to leave at the altar. Buttitta is suing Vito V. Salerno, 31, after he back out of a wedding that cost her nearly $100,000 and considerable embarrassment.
The two had dated since March 2004 and he popped the question on Dec. 7, 2007. Buttitta says that the proposal was an enforceable promise and that he also committed intentional infliction of emotional distress in backing out just four days before the wedding.
She demanded repayment of his share of the wedding, including more than $30,000 to rent out the banquet center, nearly $12,000 on flowers, $10,000 for an orchestra and nearly $5,400 on a “non-returnable Wedding dress, veil and hair accessory.”
In her complaint, she details show Salerno allegedly spent time in the “Pink Monkey” strip joint and engaged in “flirtatious and amorous acts in public.”
She later sent the following [post]love note: “It was agreed by you and me that the marriage ceremony was to be performed on October 2, 2010. I was on that date, ready and willing to marry you. Further, please be advised that I am not still willing to marry you.”
Courts routinely deal with legal claims following such breakups — usually demands for the return of expensive engagement rings. This includes Illinois courts. For example, in 1994, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled in Vann v. Vehrs that boyfriend was “entitled to the return of the ring where the engagement was mutually broken because the ring was a gift conditional on the subsequent marriage of the parties, and when the condition was not fulfilled, the girlfriend no longer had any right to the ring.”
Notably, in Lowe v. Quinn, a New York court dealt with an interesting promissory case where Lowe v. Quinn, where the man gave an engagement ring to the engaged woman upon her promise to marry him. He, however, was married to another woman but was contemplating a divorce. He did not get a divorce and she eventually broke their engagement their engagement. The court ruled:
The essential element which distinguishes the action for recovery [*271] of a ring given in contemplation of marriage from other actions for the return of other gifts the delivery of which has been completed is the breach by the donee of the contract to marry. HN2Go to the description of this Headnote.Where one of the parties is already married the contract to marry is completely void (cf. Haviland v. Halstead, 34 N. Y. 643; Williams v. Igel, 62 Misc. 354; Davis v. Pryor, 112 F. 274). The fact that the married promisor contemplated divorce and the promises were conditional upon that eventuality does not validate the agreement ( Smith v. McPherson, 176 Cal. 144; Leupert v. Shields, 14 Colo. App. 404; Noice v. Brown, 38 N. J. L. 228; 49 Harv. L. Rev. 648).
It would logically follow that, there being no valid agreement which could be breached, the gift remains absolute.
This case is more extensive in the claims to cover a wedding dress and other expenses. What if his defense is that he never wanted or asked for such expenses. He merely agreed to marry and that promise is not enforceable.
I would love to see the mediation in this case since fulfillment of the original agreement appears off the table.
Source: Chicago Breaking News