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BRIDE COULD BE THE QUEEN OF TORTS IF SHE'D ONLY COURT LAWYER AGAIN

Just when you think that you've heard everything there is to hear about lawyers, you pick up the newspaper and realize that there is still more.

David Margolick of The New York Times reports that a corporate lawyer named Frank D. Zaffere III sued his fiancee, Maria Dillon, for breaking off their engagement.Zaffere is asking Dillon, a 21-year-old restaurant hostess, to pay him $40,310, which is the amount he says he spent while pursuing her.

This includes the cost of a fur coat, a ring, a car, a typewriter and even the champagne consumed in Chicago's Pump Room. Zaffere said that he was still waiting for his VISA and MasterCard bills before he could give a final account.

While this looked bad for Dillon, Zaffere gave her an "out" by offering to marry her, providing she met certain conditions, including "faithfulness, truthfulness and marrying him within 45 days of her receiving his letter."

Now, no woman could really ask for anything more.

Here is a real neat guy who must love Dillon very much, or he wouldn't ask her to cough up the more than $40,000 he spent on her.

The man is committed to equal justice for all or suing for breach of contract - whichever comes first.

He has taken a statute on the Illinois books, which treats a promise of marriage like a contract, and brought it out of the closet to the courts, where it belongs.

Frankly, I worry for Dillon if she decides to go ahead with the marriage in the 45 days allocated to her.

Let's start with the honeymoon:

"Frank, can we go to dinner this evening beneath the stars?"

"Why don't you make a motion, and I will consider it."

"You make me so happy."

"That is what tort lawyers are for."

"Could we waive the legal talk tonight and go to the bridal suite?"

"You'd have to show just cause, and I don't think that you've got a case."

"Frank, will you stop it? This is our honeymoon."

"The jury is still out on how we should spend it. In the case of Bertha Braddock vs. Norman Lear, the judge ruled that couples could not go to their honeymoon suites without signing a memorandum as to what the legal purpose was. I am your husband, but after all, I am also a lawyer and an officer of the court. We have to go by the books."

"Frank, do you love me?"

"With certain stipulations. If you committed perjury, libel or violated any other family values, I would have to turn you in to the authorities."

"The next thing you'll do is start advising me of my rights before we try to have a baby."

"I wouldn't do that on our honeymoon."

"There is no one like you, Frank. Let's take a walk in the woods and talk about the future."

"You know what this honeymoon is costing me, don't you?"

"Of course, Frank. Why do you ask?"

"If this marriage doesn't work out, I'm going to file suit, asking for costs plus punitive damages."