People who are struck by Cupid’s arrow tend to see love and romance everywhere they look, inspiring some of the most famous artworks in history-from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” to Haddaway’s “What is Love.” Legal professionals are not immune to Cupid’s cherubic charm, but they don’t always have such an artistic outlet to express themselves. Take a look at some of the wildest stories and statutes our lovestruck lawyers have gifted us over the years.
QuaShonte Short v. Richard Jordan
It’s not just laws on the books that can affect our romantic lives. Some consequences can come from civil actions. In 2022, QuaShonte Short brought suit against Richard Jordan because he stood her up after one date in 2020. In her suit, Short sought $10,000 in emotional damages because the day of the proposed date happened to fall on her late mother’s birthday.
After a heated hearing, Short learned that she had sued in the wrong court and would be unable to move forward. It’s not clear whether she intends to move the case to the proper court, but it seems apparent that she and Jordan have no plans to take their relationship further.
Uber on the hook for a failed marriage?
In 2017, a French businessman borrowed his wife’s phone to call an Uber then logged out when his car arrived. However, due to a bug with Uber’s system, his wife was sent notifications of his subsequent travel history though her phone was no longer logged in to his account. After seeing her husband’s travel destinations, she began to suspect infidelity in the relationship. With those suspicions in place, she found out that her instinct was correct and ended up divorcing him.
The unfaithful husband eventually brought suit in a French court against Uber, seeking $48M in damages. Uber fixed the bug as soon as they became aware of it, but it was too late for this couple. The parties have requested anonymity.
New Orleans, Louisiana
In New Orleans, it is illegal to use fortune telling to settle lovers’ quarrels. The statute in question is primarily meant to curb the use of occult practices like voodoo. Still, this law includes quite a few prohibitions on the use of the mystic arts to manage individual relationships. In particular, it’s illegal to use magic or fortune telling to “settle lovers’ quarrels, to bring together the separated, . . . to effect marriages, . . . to locate lost or absent friends or relatives, to reveal, remove and avoid domestic troubles or to bring together the bitterest enemies converting them into staunchest friends.”
At least for now, it looks like we all will have to make friends and resolve our lovers’ quarrels the old fashioned way in New Orleans.
Haddon Township, New Jersey
Upon learning that flirting is outlawed in the Township of Haddon, it seems like lawmakers may have overstepped their bounds. How is anyone expected to find a Valentine’s date? The full language of the section reads:
Whoever accosts or approaches any person of the opposite sex unknown to such person and by word, sign or gesture attempts to speak to or to become acquainted with such person against his will, on a public street or other public place in the Township, except in the transaction of legitimate business, or whoever attempts to entice or procure a person of the opposite sex to commit an unlawful act, or whoever accosts or approaches any person and by word, sign or gesture suggests or invites the doing of any indecent or unnatural act, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished as provided in this chapter.
By looking at this language closer and reading a bit between the lines, it seems likely that lawmakers created this prohibition to target catcalling. They were probably not trying to interfere with anyone’s meet cute, but it does look like flirting is technically against the law under the specific language of this statute. For anyone in Haddon, it might be a good idea to consult with your attorney before making a move on your crush.
All states have laws against polygamy as a practice, but in Mississippi, you can be prosecuted just for explaining it to someone. Any Mississippian who teaches the principles of polygamy or encourages anyone to adopt it as a practice can be fined up to $500, imprisoned for up to six months, or both.
In Delaware, the Court is required to annul a marriage if either or both parties were only entering the marriage as a dare. Apparently there are still quite a few eligible singles in Delaware who still honor the code, “I double dog dare you.” They should be careful about how many dares they take though. There are some laws on the books that put a limit on true love. For instance, in Kentucky, couples have a cap of four remarriages—to each other. That one seems reasonable. If they can’t get it right after attempt number four, it’s time to try something else.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Sixfifty
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