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Broken Prom Date Is A Broken Promise

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feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It’s prom season. Can you sue if you get stood up?

Tomontra Mangrum, a 15-year-old West Palm Beach girl sued Marlon Shadd, her 17-year-old prom date, claiming he stood her up on prom night. She told reporters ‘I was very upset when he didn’t show up.’

Shadd, on the other hand, insisted he’d called off the date a week before the prom.

Tomontra’s mother filed suit for the cost of the shoes, flowers, and hairdo her daughter had gotten for the prom.

Can you really sue if your prom date stands you up?

An invitation to a prom isn’t a contract per se. The invitation isn’t ‘I will take you if you buy a new dress’, such that once you’ve bought the dress he’s obligated to take you to the prom. But even without a contract, you can still sue someone if he made a promise to you and you reasonably relied on that promise to your detriment. ‘Gee, I can’t wear this old thing. I better go buy a dress.’

The case settled out of court for $81 but without an apology which is probably what she really wanted. The thing about high school is that the last thing you really want to advertise is how popular you aren’t.

Your best bet is not to sue but to chalk this up to one of childhood’s painful memories and hold your head high when you return, resplendent, to the now fat, bald, ex prom date at your 10th-year reunion.

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