ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Marvin v. Marvin Suit Bites the Dust

Brian_Giles_2008 The Los Angeles Times reports here that a jury rejected Cheri Olvera's claims against her ex-fiance baseball player Brian Giles (pictured at left while playing for the San Diego Padres).  The jury also ordered the return of a $107,000 engagement ring.  Olvera's complaint can be found on's sports section [really!] here.  It relies on causes of action recognized in the earlier California case, Marvin v. Marvin, about which we have blogged in the past.

According to the complaint, Olvera and Giles started dating in May 2002.  In September of that year, Giles invited Olvera to come live with him.  She claims that Giles told her to sell her house and all of her possessions, which she did, in reliance on his promise to provide for her.  She alleges that the parties entered into a detailed oral agreement in December 2002 according to which she agreed to be his partner, homemaker, and caretaker for their respective children in return for financial security for life.  The parties became engaged to be married in 2005, but the marriage never took place, due to Olvera's allegations that she was a victim of domestic abuse.  Giles counterclaimed alleging that he had been the victim of domestic violence.  Olvera filed suit in 2008, alleging breaches of express and implied contracts and other causes of action.  

According to this article from Sign On San Diego, although Olvera's complaint originally sought $10 million in contractual and other damages, at trial, her attorney told the jury that she sought only $500,000, to which the parties had agreed in an unsigned pre-nuptial agreement that the parties negotiated in 2005.  This was apparently a strategy to address the impression that Olvera's suit was motivated only by a desire for money.  Olvera is engaged to another former baseball player, Chuck Knoblauch, who is now cast in the role of Dick van Dyck to Giles' Lee Marvin.  


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