Russian E-Mail Order Bride Wins $400,000 Judgement

Earlier this year, I noted ongoing controversy over mail order brides from Eastern Europe, and whether they are victims of domestic violence at higher rates than normal (and, if so, what should be done to minimize the problem).

This month, a Ukranian woman won a $434,000 jury award against an online agency that matched up women from the former Soviet Union with American men.

Nataliya Fox sued Encounters International claiming that the agency was fraudulent and negligent when it paired her up with American businessman James Fox in 1998.

The two were married about three months after meeting, but Nataliya claimed her husband was abusive throughout their marriage.

Nataliya testified that when she told Encounters International owner Natasha Spivack about the abuse, that Spivack told her she would be deported if she left her American husband. Spivack testified that Nataliya concocted the story in order to remain in the United States.

Similarly, Nataliya testified that when she asked Spivack why another Russian woman had left James Fox only two weeks after being set up with him by Encounters International, Spivack told her that the woman had been “foolish.”

James Fox testified at the trial that he never abused his wife.

Encounters International plans to appeal the verdict.

Sources:

Online dating bride wins damages. The BBC, November 19, 2004.

Mail-order bride wins damage award. Stephanie Hanes, Baltimore Sun, November 19, 2004.

Jury awards $434,000 to woman who met husband online. Associated Press, November 19, 2004.

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