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Broken Hearts, Broken Laws

broken hearts love divorce valentine's day

Valentine’s Day! The time of the year we celebrate with flowers, jewelry, heart-shaped cookies, candy, romantic dates, and lawsuits. Just for you, we’ve picked a dozen long-stemmed court cases for your Valentine’s Day bouquet.  

#1 “A rose sent to any other name” 

When Leroy Greer ordered a dozen long-stemmed roses for his girlfriend, he requested the purchase be kept private. When a customer thank-you note arrived at his house months later, his wife grew curious and called. After 1-800-Flowers helpfully faxed over details of the purchase, divorce proceedings commenced. Greer’s subsequent lawsuit, claiming breach of contract, was filed in Houston, Texas, which leads us to wonder if the roses were yellow.  

#2 I don’t mean rhinestones 

As Marilyn Monroe reminded us, diamonds can be a good investment. If properly appraised that is. In early 2016, Nashville firm Cummings Manookian filed two lawsuits against Washington, D.C., retailer Mervis Diamond Importers for misrepresentation of goods. The firm’s earlier lawsuit against Genesis Diamonds was resolved and dismissed, with the terms of the settlement confidential. So remember: “there may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer.” 

#3 “And a mouth full of Raisinets 

Planning a Valentine’s movie night? At the concession counter, be sure to check the ‘slack fill’ in your candy box. In November 2016, Lahonee Hawkins sued Nestle U.S.A., Inc in the circuit court of Phelps County Missouri claiming “that Nestlé’s Raisinets candy are under-filled with raisins and have a significantly higher amount of empty space in the box, called ‘slack-fill.’” 

#4 Stop dragée my heart around 

Once again, bakers in California will face another Valentine’s Day without the delightful little silver-coated French confections popular for cake and cookie decorating. Sold in 49 states “for decorative purposes” only, dragées are fully banned in California after Napa-based environmental lawyer Mark Pollack brought suit against a Culver City bakery and a “who’s who of names from the bakery world.” 

The resulting ban is so pervasive that this blogger was unable to replicate an eye-catching Valentine’s recipe from the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens. 

#5 “The night they invented champagne 

California may not be able to decorate Valentine’s cookies with French dragées, but we can celebrate romance with a bottle of homegrown champagne. Legally, sparkling wine cannot be called champagne unless it is made in Champagne France and produced via the méthode champenoise. And the EU is vigilant in protecting their beloved bubbly from inferior imitations and infringements. However, California’s right to bottle champagne was unintentionally safeguarded by the Treaty of Versailles.   

#6 New phone, Who dis? 

The legal wrangles of dating websites and apps prove that, even among businesses, the course of true love sometimes runs into a lawsuit. When dating app Bumble spurned an offer of purchase, the rejected suiter Match Group, owners of Tinder, subsequently filed a patent infringement lawsuit in a district court in Texas. No yellow roses were involved. 

#7 Weather forecast: It’s not raining men 

In the exclusive neighborhood of Knightsbridge England, dating agency Seventy Thirty promises its clients to access to exceptionally elite gentlemen and women. After her membership failed to deliver the goods, Tereza Burki took umbrage with the claim and filed suit. She was awarded £12,600 damages for deceit and £500 for distress. However, the same judge awarded Seventy Thirty for libel as a result of Burki’s 2016 Google review of their services.   

#8 “You’re a fake and a phony and I wish I’d never laid eyes on you” 

Australian matchmaking service, Elite Introductions promises customers that they’ll “meet amazing people looking for an amazing relationship.” At nearly $5,000 for the chance at romance, fitness instructor Zoë Daly was not impressed with the result. In the lawsuit filed, Daly listed her date’s many undesirable qualities, including how he “spoke about himself the whole time.” 

#9 “Something old, something new” 

We’ll settle for something that arrives in time for the ceremony! A Dublin, Ohio bridal gown company’s poor track record of service resulted in a lawsuit for violation of consumer protection laws “by failing to deliver bridal gowns, accessories, and alterations to consumers and failing to provide refunds.” According to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, nearly 50 complaints were brought against the business.   

#10 “Once I had a secret love” 

After a 2015 data breach of “infidelity and married dating” website Ashley Madison made users’ personal information public, several class action lawsuits were eventually consolidated as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a Missouri federal court. As the case progressed, “a Missouri federal judge ruled that plaintiffs seeking to act as Class representatives in the Ashley Madison data breach class action lawsuit cannot use pseudonyms and must disclose their real names.” 

#11 Royal Family Law  

Henry VIII’s divorce in 1527 from Catherine of Aragon is one of the most well-known marital dissolution cases of all time. Take a peek at Cardinal Wolsey’s counsel to his client in the early stages of negotiations. We’d hate to have to bookmark and redact THAT scanned document!    

#12 “The Court is convened and thousands draw near”  

In the eighteenth century, poet Brian Merriman attended a most unusual court hearing brought by the women of Ireland against bachelors of the same. Coming to order at midnight with judge Queen Aoibheal of the Fairies presiding, plaintiffs and defendants argued the case for and against marriage.  

The rowdy, unflattering testimonies are recorded for posterity in Cúirt An Mheán Oíche (The Midnight Court), Merriman’s comic masterpiece. Originally in Irish, its translations were routinely banned or censored.  

And what better way to end Valentine’s Day and look forward to the holidays of March?   

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