Cheating Husband Sues Florist for Exposing Affair Print

floristA Texas man has sued 1-800-Flowers for giving his wife a strategic advantage in their divorce case by providing her with proof that he committed adultery.

Leroy Greer used the floral retailer to send a dozen red roses to his girlfriend in April, along with a note saying, “Just wanted to say that I love you and you mean the world to me!” In placing his order, he says, he relied on the company's privacy policy.

But a few weeks later, 1-800-Flowers sent a card to his home address thanking him for his purchase and offering a discount on his next purchase. His wife got the card and, “to find out the specifics of the transaction,” called the company, which duly faxed her a copy of his order.

In a suit filed this week in Houston federal court, Greer says his wife is now seeking an unequal division of the marital property based on his adultery and 1-800-Flowers is to blame for misrepresenting that it would keep his floral transaction private.

“Defendants' misrepresentation damaged Plaintiff by leading to a contested divorce with his wife,” the complaint says. Greer does not specify an amount of damages, but he demanded $1 million from 1-800-Flowers before filing the suit.

When Bernice Greer petitioned for divorce in January 2006, she cited only “insupportability” and indicated that she and her husband would “enter into an agreement with regard to the division of the community property.”

Under Texas law, a court “may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.” It makes no difference if the adultery occurred after the separation of a divorcing couple.

Leroy Greer is not alleging 1-800-Flowers caused the breakup of his marriage. But he may face an uphill battle showing the defendants “breached their 'Privacy Policy' by forwarding Plaintiff's information to someone other than him.”

According to the policy, 1-800-Flowers “recognizes and respects the importance of maintaining the privacy of our customers.” The company does not make a customer's e-mail address available to third parties without the customer's consent and, in addition,

you may instruct that other personal information about you or your message or gift recipients' that you have provided to us not be shared with third parties.

Greer says he asked the customer service agent who took his order “about keeping the information private with no evidence of the call being sent to him at his business or residence.” The agent referred him to the privacy policy, which is posted on 1800flowers.com.

But the policy instructs customers who “prefer not to have personal information ... shared with third parties” to “let us know by emailing, writing or calling us.” 1-800-Flowers could argue that Greer never specifically did that and, in any case, it properly released the information to Bernice Greer because, as his wife, she had the “apparent authority” to act on his behalf.

The courts could also view any contract between Leroy Greer and 1-800-Flowers to keep his affair secret as unenforceable since it arose from a bad act. A similar argument surfaced in the case of a woman who claimed NBA great Michael Jordan paid her $250,000 to buy her silence about his infidelity.

Bernice Greer appears to have suspected her husband was cheating on her. A note scrawled on the fax she received from 1-800-Flowers says, “Be a man! If you got caught red handed then don't still lie.”

By Matthew Heller
8/9/07