Wedding Off, Lawsuit On for Jilted Bride

Will groom pay for backing out days before the big day?

ByABC News
December 15, 2010, 1:33 PM

Dec. 15, 2010— -- "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned," playwright William Congreve wrote.

In a suburb of Chicago, fury has overtaken a jilted bride who is suing her former fiancé for the wedding costs. Dominique Buttitta, dumped four days before the wedding was to take place, is seeking damages of $95,942 from Vito Salerno to cover wedding expenses and the cost of the lawsuit.

According to the case filed on Friday in Cook County Circuit Court, Buttitta, an attorney, claimed breach of promise to marry and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Buttitta and Salerno began dating in March 2007, were engaged in December 2007 and the wedding was set for October 2 of this year in Barrington, Illinois.

Buttitta and Salerno did not return requests for comment.

The case claims Salerno told others the wedding was cancelled but denied saying so when Buttitta confronted him on Sept. 25. According to the suit, he called off the wedding two days later.

The suit's itemized list of expenses included over $30,000 for the banquet hall, $11,000 on lighting and flowers, $10,000 for an orchestra, $7,550 for a photographer, $5,000 for a wedding dress and accessories, and $1,700 for wedding favors. The expenses include other non-refundable purchases, including a bridesmaid luncheon, bridal shower and a deposit for a wedding planner.

The suit also claims that one month before the wedding date, the groom attended a bachelor party at an adult entertainment business called the Pink Monkey. He allegedly engaged in lewd acts, including lap dances with strippers, of which the bride was unaware.

John Zielinski, a civil attorney not connected with the case, said because Buttitta is suing to recover damages from documented expenses, she has a chance. Some states, including Illinois and Georgia, have "breach of promise" to marry laws.

Zielinski said it would be more difficult to win monetary damages just for emotional distress.

"Illinois has limited recovery to actual damages so you can't complain about extra damages," he said.

This is not the first time a heartbroken bride sued her former groom. In July 2008, a jury in Georgia ordered Wayne Gibbs to pay RoseMary Shell $150,000 for breaking off their engagement three days before their wedding. Wells had moved from Florida to Georgia to be with her ex-fiancé and in doing so took a pay cut to do so.