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Jacklovich v. Stallman, A/K/A “Prom Night Problems”

Cases

Jacklovich v. Stallman

 

Stood-Up Prom Date Sues: Woman Says Ex-Boyfriend Broke Verbal Agreement

MOORHEAD, Minn. Posted 2:57 p.m. June 02, 1998 –

promA Minnesota teen-ager says she was stood up by her prom date. But she wants her escort to pay for it anyway. Nineteen-year-old Melissa Jacklovich of Dilworth and her parents filed a small claims case seeking $244. Jacklovich claims 19-year-old Christopher Stallman of Moorhead made a verbal promise to take her to the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton high school prom May 16. But the woman contends Stallman reneged after she had already paid $224 for a dress, alterations and shoes. She also asked for $20 in court costs. Stallman says Jacklovich asked him to the prom in February. He says they broke up in March. A judge heard the case yesterday. A decision is expected in about a week. Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press

 

Stood-Up Prom Date Can’t Collect

MOORHEAD, Minn. Posted 5:32 a.m. June 9, 1998 —

A judge has told a teen suing her ex-boyfriend for the cost of a prom dress after he broke off the date that she should ask an etiquette columnist, and not a court, for help. Clay County District Judge Michael Kirk ruled Monday that Melissa Jacklovich, 19, of Dilworth, can’t recover the $224 cost of the dress and the $20 in court fees she sought from Chris Stallman, reports The Associated Press. Jacklovich, shown, and her parents had filed the lawsuit after Stallman ended their relationship and canceled a planned prom date after she had purchased a dress for the event. Jacklovich claimed that Stallman had verbally agreed to take her to the prom, Judge Kirk noted. But Kirk wrote that the law limits legal remedies in cases involving a social agreement. “Whether etiquette might suggest that the defendant has a social or moral duty to help the plaintiff with her prom costs is a question for the likes of Emily Post or Miss Manners, not for the courts of this state,” wrote Kirk. Kirk also wrote that: “Even a promise for the ultimate ‘date,’ a wedding, can be broken without legal liability.” Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press

Randy’s Ramblings:

The dating game has changed By Randy Hanson, Hudson Star Observer ©1998

It isn’t surprising that it’s come to this. But still, the news from northwestern Minnesota that a girl had sued her ex-boyfriend for breaking their prom date left me dumbfounded. Channel 5’s teaser worked. I sat through five minutes of commercials to have Chris Conangla tell me about poor Melissa Jacklovich of Dilworth, a speck of a town near Moorhead. Melissa paid $224 for a prom dress and shoes believing she had a date with equally hapless Christopher Stallman. Romance, even for high-schoolers, is a tricky business.

Alas, the blossom of love in young Christopher’s heart wilted – if ever it was there. Sometime before the May 16 dance, he informed Melissa that he wouldn’t be her escort. Back when I was in high school, a girl thus scorned would have been just as devastated as Melissa was. She would have sobbed to her mother about how awful boys are, and her mom would have agreed – men are a lower life form.

The next day, the girl would have told her chums about the dirty, rotten way she was treated. Her girlfriends would have done their best to make the boy’s final weeks in high school a hellish experience. They would have asked him how he could be such a contemptible lout. No other girl would have gone to the prom with him after finding out about his cowardly act. By graduation day, the boy’s self-esteem would have been lower than a snake’s belly. That would have cheered up Melissa’s predecessor. Who knows? The sisterhood might even have found a replacement date for her. Things even out over time. People who get dumped find courage to move on. They gain an appreciation for the compassionate people of the world. Eventually, they don’t know what they saw in that jerk, anyway. That’s what Melissa would have learned in an earlier day.

But Melissa, like a growing number of Americans who have watched too many episodes of “The People’s Court,” didn’t take matters into her own hands, she took Christopher to court. She and her parents filed a small claims case in Clay County District Court seeking $244, the price she paid for the dress, alterations and the shoes, plus $20 for court costs. After hearing the case June 1, Judge Michael Kirk said he would issue a decision in about a week. I’m told Judge Kirk eventually decided Christopher didn’t have to pay for the dress. What’s worrisome is that it took him a week make that decision. If you’re wondering why the judicial system is bogged down, this is a clue.

Back when the story first broke, Channel 4 sent a reporter and cameraman to Dilworth to interview Melissa and Christopher. Tears brimmed Melissa’s eyes when she told of the pain of being jilted. I admit to male bias, but her tears didn’t look like tears of sorrow to me. I thought she looked more like a spoiled child crying because she hadn’t gotten her way. Christopher looked stunned – like someone had sneaked up behind him and clonked him over the head with a two-by-four. He stared at the ground and mumbled something about just not wanting to go to the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton high school prom. He said he hoped this would all be over soon. I bet it wasn’t his idea to spend $224 on a dress and shoes, either. I don’t know any man who would suggest that. I’m not saying there aren’t any, they just don’t eat at the same lunch counter that I do.

According to a newspaper account of the case, it was Melissa who asked Christopher to the dance in the first place. At least that’s what Christopher told the judge. She asked him to the prom in February, Christopher said, but they broke up in March. He said he received a letter from Melissa in early April in which she said she still wanted to be friends, but that she would be out of town the night of the prom. He said things were “really bad” between them at the time. Melissa’s father, Mike Jacklovich, a former Dilworth police chief, told the judge he spoke with Christopher by telephone in April, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The father said he asked Christopher whether he intended to take his daughter to the prom, and that Christopher replied that he was “leaning toward not going.” He said he got a message from Christopher later that the date was indeed off. It’s inexplicable to me why a father would be so involved in his daughter’s social life. It sounds to me like the Jacklovichs could use family counseling. The whole affair might have been a valuable growth experience for Melissa. Instead, it was Christopher who learned an important lesson: When a woman tells you she still wants to be friends, it’s over.

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