$150,000 heartbalm award in Georgia

Wayne Gibbs and RoseMary Shell were engaged to be married.  Gibbs gave Shell an expensive engagement ring, and $30,000 to pay off her debts, but discovered that her financial situation was considerably more precarious, and broke off the engagement.  (Shell also alleges that Gibbs was cheating on her.)  Shell sued, and a jury awarded $150,000. (“Hall Co. jury awards jilted bride $150,000”, WDUN, Jul. 23; ABC News, Jul. 23).

Of course, if the two married, and Gibbs filed for a no-fault divorce a couple of days later, Shell would have no cause of action.  One of many reasons that breach of promise to marry suits are especially absurd in twenty-first century America.


  • From the article:
    Juror Delitha Smith told Channel 2 Action News that she didn’t agree with the outcome, but gave in to the other jurors.

    “He paid her a bundle, along with the engagement ring that was really worth a lot of money,” Smith said.

  • Ted,
    Your headline grabbing blog titles are interesting, but the follow up lacks any detail or facts of the case.

    Unfortunately, you have been sucked into the sound bites of this story, as many others have.

    I am not voicing an opinion on the legality or “common sense” of this case, merely, the lack of accurate reporting.

    The facts are as follows
    According to Shell, the couple had intended to get married when her youngest son went off to college in 2005. When that didn’t happen, she broke up with Gibbs and moved to Pensacola, where she landed a human resources job that paid $81,000 with benefits. Trying to carry on with her life, she started to date someone new.

    But in October 2006, Gibbs asked her to move back to Gainesville — and he proposed with a 2-carat diamond ring. Shell said yes. A wedding date of Dec. 2 was set.

    About a month after Shell moved back in with Gibbs, however, Gibbs expressed second thoughts in a note he left in their bathroom: He wanted to postpone the wedding.

    Gibbs and Shell stayed together a few more months before officially parting in March 2007. Shell chose to take legal action and sued three months later.

    “Primarily because he made a promise to me and I relied on that promise and gave up a lot of things because of that promise,” Shell explained.

  • AHHH! then why did she give in!? tahts not what they are sopposed to do!

    people annoy me. idiots.

  • @2, I didn’t leave out anything material, and anyone wanting more facts could go to the multiple links to news stories provided.

    The relevant fact is that if Gibbs married Shell on a Monday night and filed for divorce Tuesday morning, Shell would have no rights and no cause of action. A “breach of a promise to marry” lawsuit, even if it ever makes sense, makes absolutely no sense in a state with no-fault divorce. And I even say that as someone who moved cross-country twice for eventually unsuccessful relationships.

  • Ok so I have been with a man for 4 years now, two years ago he gave me a ring and one week later he took it back because HIS PARENTS told him no you cant marry her. I have stayed with this man ever since due to the fact that he said we will get married soon, I have been waiting 2 years now and nothing. He bought me a car and I make the payments on it. I feel that I am bound to this relationship, he told me if I was not going to marry you why would I buy you a new car? I want to get married… By the way he is 44 and I am 38… So what do I do?