Jury Gives Woman Left at Altar $150K

How one scorned woman's fury played before a jury.

July 24, 2008— -- A broken heart is a tough thing to mend, but one Georgia women is at least getting $150,000 to help her heal.

A jury this week ordered RoseMary Shell's ex-fiance to pay her $150,000 after he broke off their engagement three days before the wedding by leaving her a note in their bathroom.

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To top things off, a few months after the engagement was over, Shell told the jury that she learned that her fiance had been seeing another woman while they were engaged.

Shell had moved from Florida to Georgia to be with her fiance, Wayne Gibbs, according to court records. She found a new job, taking a pay cut. Her salary went from $81,000 a year, plus a 15 percent bonus, to $31,000 a year.

After the break-up, in June 2007 she went to court alleging that Gibbs was guilty of breach of contract. She said he acted in bad faith and caused her unnecessary trouble and expense. Thanks to him, she has no health insurance, no life insurance, no home, no car and limited creditworthiness to fix her life.

She asked for a jury to make her whole for her financial loss and to compensate her for mental anguish and humiliation.

And -- after a three-day trial -- the jury of six men and six women agreed that she had been wronged by Gibbs.

"I am thrilled to death," Shell told ABC's Atlanta affiliate, WSB. "Financially, he destroyed me just a lot of ways and people shouldn't be allowed to do that. Hopefully he'll think twice before he does it do someone else."

Shell's lawyer, Lydia J. Sartain, said this was not a case of a woman scorned but a broken contract.

"He never intended to marry her but it cost her a tremendous amount financially," Sartain told WSB.

Gibbs' lawyer, Hammond Law, could not be reached for comment.

But in closing arguments he told the jurors: "You would be sending the message that if you have a dispute with somebody and you think they have been a scoundrel, go get a lawyer and hope the Brinks truck backs up to the jury room," according to the Gainesville Times. "If you award one penny, you're saying, 'file frivolous lawsuits.'"