A Georgia man who promised to marry his girlfriend but then didn't has been ordered to pay $50,000 after the woman sued him for fraud and "breach of promise to marry."
Christopher Ned Kelley and Melissa Cooper had been living together for four years when Kelley proposed to Cooper in 2004, and even bought her an engagement ring valued at $10,000.
The couple continued sharing a household along with their shared child and another child from Cooper's previous relationship until 2011, when Cooper learned that Kelley had cheated on her for a second time.
Cooper, who had quit her job to become a full-time mother based on the assumption that Kelley would become the sole breadwinner after their marriage, was asked by Kelley to move out, and take the children with her.
Cooper responded by filing a lawsuit against Kelley, alleging "breach of promise to marry," among other claims.
She won her suit and was awarded $50,000 by the trial court.
Kelley subsequently appealed the ruling, claiming his relationship with Cooper was not unlike prostitution, in that he was merely Cooper's john.
As such, Kelley's defense claimed, their relationship was illegal, and therefore the promise to marry was unenforceable.
For good measure, Kelley also told the court he "never initiated the concept of marriage with her, outside of giving her that ring" and "never said the words 'will you marry me' to her."
Kelley lost again, with Judge Elizabeth Branch deciding [pdf] that the "object" of the promise Kelley made to Cooper was "not illegal or against public policy," even if the relationship had "the nature of prostitution."
Kelley was again ordered to pay Cooper $50,000.
[photo via Shutterstock]