Skip Nav
Consumerism
51 Affordable Valentine's Day Gifts For Any Type of Guy
Self Improvement
44 Quote Tattoos That Will Change Your Life
Oscars
A Breakdown of the Oscars Gift Bag Worth Over $200,000 — You Won't Believe What's Inside

Man Must Pay $150,000 For Breaking Engagement "Contract"

Man Must Pay $150,000 For Breaking Engagement "Contract"

Breaking up is rarely uncomplicated, but the stakes rise considerably when one person in the relationship has made financial sacrifices for the other. Rosemary Shell took a substantial pay-cut when she moved from Florida to Georgia to be with her then fiancé Wayne Gibbs. She earned $81,000 a year, plus a 15 percent bonus at her previous job and her new position in Georgia paid only $31,000 a year.

Three days before the wedding, Wayne left Rosemary a breakup note in the bathroom, and later she learned that he was unfaithful during their engagement. Her revenge? A lawsuit claiming breach of contract. The three day trial decided that Wayne must pay his ex-fiancée $150,000 for financial loss and humiliation.

Rosemary's lawyer focused on arguing the broken contract, which I'm assuming is the broken engagement. Are engagements contracts? Do you agree with the jury's decision to punish Wayne for his heartless ways?

Source

Around The Web

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

Join The Conversation
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 7 years
The punishment fit the crime. He deliberately wasted her time and shouldn't be patted on the back for it. He made a promise to her and broke it in the most cowardly way. To those saying she chose to move, he chose to ask her.
356UIK 356UIK 7 years
I agree that it is a contract and I LOVE stories like this one! Believe it or not this happens more than you would think :ROTFL: Dont waste people's time if you're not serious. Its that simple. Schmuck!
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 7 years
@TheMissus: "The ring she received ain't worth crap. She'll be lucky if she can get $3k for it. It's ugly, and the diamond isn't of notable shape or clarity." Hardly the point. If they're settling this relationship in a court, it should be returned, whether you or she consider it an attractive ring or not. "And I'm sorry... But an engagement IS A VERBAL CONTRACT. Just like a marriage is a BUSINESS CONTRACT. She took personal financial risk BASED ON HIS AGREEMENT TO FINANCIALLY CARE FOR HER when she moved to his state. Going from $81k to $31k a year in salary is a HUGE FINANCIAL LOSS." All caps doesn't make your point valid. By that argument, any relationship can be a verbal "contract." She shouldn't have taken any financial risks until the deal was legal, which means marriage, not engagement. It was very stupid of her to sacrifice everything before they were legally bound to each other, but as far as I know, no one was holding a gun to her head. "This is why people SHOULD THINK TWICE ABOUT THE DECISION TO LIVE TOGETHER BEFORE THEY GET MARRIED. If she had waited till after they got married to move, then she wouldn't have given up her job or her assets." Exactly. Couldn't agree more. It is her fault that she is in the predicament because she should have waited until they were married. It's also her fault because she chose to be in a relationship with this man. Again, no one forced her to do these things. "And I'm sorry... But the vacations he paid for were not something she financially benefited from by him paying. So his justification that he paid for them and now he doesn't owe her is crap. A vacation is a gift." So the ring, the vacations, and the 30K of debt he paid off were "gifts," but any money she was out because of their relationship is owed back to her? She chose to settle this in court, so his financial contributions should be considered. At the very least, show some class and give back the ring. Shouldn't be a big deal if it's as cheap and ugly as you say.
FitZucchero FitZucchero 7 years
I hardly find this appropriate and perhaps this is because I see it from a different perspective (as the person whose partner moved for her and not the other way around). What she took was a calculated risk in leaving behind her job and moving to live with her partner. I would understand this if she was attempting to recoup money lost in wedding planning, but simply for a change of life, I don't agree. I think this sets a precedent that will actually make people even more skeptical about committing.
jadenirvana jadenirvana 7 years
I do think its appropriate. People should take their relationships more seriously and having more serious consequences for not keeping their word in love is appropriate, since not keeping your word in the rest of life also has serious consequences.
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 7 years
No. This was her decision to move. I think he sucks for doing that, but he can't be held legally liable for her loss....
bransugar79 bransugar79 7 years
I feel bad for this woman and at first I though right one she got him back. But that's pretty much just it. I don't think this is a legal issue, whereas had they actually been married it would be. An engagement is in theory a contract but then so is any relationship. A contract is basically just an agreement between two parties regarding an issue anyway. I think this guy is a jerk and I think he doesn't deserve to be with this wooman but she made the choice to move and take the pay cut this was somethign she knew before she left her position. I moved all the way across the country to be with my husband and if things had gone poorly I would have been hurt and angry but I wouldn't ever have tried to make him compensate me for my risk.
Lilavati Lilavati 7 years
This would only be fair if there was such a law previously and the guy would have known he was breaking it.
a-nonny-mouse a-nonny-mouse 7 years
I don't know the particulars of this situation. In principle, I don't think people should be held responsible for broken engagements (regarding financial support, and similar sundry items). For me, an engagement represents the wish for a couple to marry, in the future (if everything proceeds favorably between the two people). I would expect a couple to dig deep during that span of time and truly work out if they think that marriage is the best situation for them. It is sometimes (even often) a better decision for couples to end their engagement rather than enter into an unwise (legally binding) union as a married couple. And, yeah, during this time sometimes one half of the couple unexpectedly jumps ship. Devastating, but it's a risk a person must take when s/he enters into this dedicated interval of promise. (It serves no one's best interest to pretend that promises are always fulfilled.) This is why it is called an engagement. It is a trial. If it weren't, we would use a different word for it -- marriage. I feel bad for this woman; she took some tough knocks -- but, live and learn! The legal ramifications of this new precedent worry me. (But I can sometimes be a bit of a slippery-slope worry-wart.) Dunno; it's just not sitting right with me. [For the record, Ex-Fiancee man is a mega-tool. No respect for cheaters, at any stage in a relationship. Oh, and a note just a few days short of the ceremony is cowardly and cold.]
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 7 years
Hell hath no fury...
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
I don't agree with the verdict either. I think that woman was foolish for sacrificing so much for a fiance. I guess I view an engagement as non-binding. Marriage IS binding (legally, morally, and ethically). Engagment -- not so much. To me, an engagement is an INTENT to marry, not necessarily marriage itself. Well, I do feel sorry for that woman. It's saddening, humiliating, and embarrassing to be left at the altar. She's a scorned woman. Fury and all.
lawchick lawchick 7 years
man, he dumped her by note three days before the wedding? that is cold. I don't think it was wrong of her to sue, but doing so would only magnify my embarrassment about the situation if I were her.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i agree that there is more to the story than what you read here. on one side i think that she was owed something - she was making a given amount and had earning potential that was much higher, but in order to maintain the relationship she had to relocate and as a result lost a large portion of earning potential. my fiance moved up to NYC with me, but luckily the income here is better so it's working out just fine. i think that if he cheated - then he wasn't trying to make it work and therefore owed her something for her time since she did uproot her life entirely for him - but that's all to be decided since we weren't part of the relationship. these things are hard. if he helped her out financially - that was his choice and to take her on trips or give her gifts - that's also his choice. but he was the one to break things off, and he can go back to his every day life - but now she's in GA in a place that she wouldn't have moved to most likely and that's not necessarily the best thing for either of them.
Bettyjane Bettyjane 7 years
I think the verdict is right on. I think both men and women nowadays think marriage is something that you can do on a whim and doesn't need to be taken seriously because you can "just get a divorce". People need to take responsibility for the choices they make. At the end of the day we don't know what really went on within their relationship, but I say to hell with cheaters. Pay up.
rabidmoon rabidmoon 7 years
Do they mention how long they were together before she took the leap? I would be curious to know. Truth is, I feel damn sorry for her, and with all my heart I want to say "I agree"....because not only would I be absolutely livid from a personal standpoint, but from a professional one. My job means a lot to me, and I only got where I was with a lot of time and effort...to give that up in vain would be horrible! Which..is exactly why I would be interested to know how long these two were together before she chose to do just that. So I want to side with her..but something holds me back. Perhaps its just that ifor her to win opens up a whoooooole can of worms and sets a dangerous precedent for both men and women in relationships. What next.. "pre-pre-nuptial agreements"?
karisaamy karisaamy 7 years
I think this is just anouther example of how people sue for everything these days. She made the choice to become engaged to him, she also made the choice to move to be with him. She needs to be held responsible for her bad choices as well.
TheMissus TheMissus 7 years
Brown Eyed Girl.. The ring she received ain't worth crap. She'll be lucky if she can get $3k for it. It's ugly, and the diamond isn't of notable shape or clarity. I think she was owed financial restitution. AND... If you bothered to watch the segment on the Today Show... You would know that his claim that "she had more debt than he realized" was FALSE. Which is why the jury found in HER FAVOR. And I'm sorry... But an engagement IS A VERBAL CONTRACT. Just like a marriage is a BUSINESS CONTRACT. She took personal financial risk BASED ON HIS AGREEMENT TO FINANCIALLY CARE FOR HER when she moved to his state. Going from $81k to $31k a year in salary is a HUGE FINANCIAL LOSS. This is why people SHOULD THINK TWICE ABOUT THE DECISION TO LIVE TOGETHER BEFORE THEY GET MARRIED. If she had waited till after they got married to move, then she wouldn't have given up her job or her assets. And I'm sorry... But the vacations he paid for were not something she financially benefited from by him paying. So his justification that he paid for them and now he doesn't owe her is crap. A vacation is a gift. I think she was very much owed restitution.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 7 years
I think this is a good example of leeping before you look. She made the choice to move pre-marriage. What he did was wrong, but it doesn't seem she was really looking out for her own best interest.
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 7 years
This doesn't tell the whole story. His side: Gibbs testified that he took Shell on several skiing trips during their renewed partnership, made house payments for her, and gave her $30,000 to pay off some of her credit-card debt. He claimed he got cold feet after learning she had even more debt. AND she's kept the ring. I don't see an engagement as legally binding, but then, I don't believe our government officials have a right to be involved in personal relationships between any two individuals.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 7 years
I really feel sorry for this poor woman, but I am not sure that I agree with this. "if she was led to believe that he would provide for her if she dropped her high paying job and moved to georgia, and then he dumped her... she absolutely deserves this." Then where will this stop? If someone gets married and she (or he) were "led to believe" that they would have children and the other is infertile, could they sue each other for that? I agree with CaterpillarGirl - all relationships have risk, no one forced her to do anything.
valancyjane valancyjane 7 years
If I have my bridal history right, an engagement is sort of a contract ... in "olden days," the ring was a sort of collateral, I think. So this is probably not the first time a broken engagement has been seen as a broken contract. I wonder what financial agreement they would have come to if this came out after the wedding? Either way, she is better off. What a louse.
cassedy04 cassedy04 7 years
not knowing any more than what i saw here... but wouldnt she be able to claim promissory estoppel - that (from wikipedia, but only bc its phrased nicely) The defendant (scumbag fiancee) has done or said something to induce an expectation The plaintiff (woman) relied (reasonably) on the expectation... ...and would suffer detriment if that expectation were false. if she was led to believe that he would provide for her if she dropped her high paying job and moved to georgia, and then he dumped her... she absolutely deserves this.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
I dont agree with the verdict, yes he is a Skeez but she made the decision to move he didnt force her to. All relationships are a risk.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
It sounds pretty fair to me. Although, you know, if the situation were reversed and a guy was trying to get money from a woman who broke up with him, he probably wouldn't get anything.
bleached bleached 7 years
Oh America, this is why us lawyers will always have a job...
Latest Career & Money
X