Saturday, January 14, 2012

There's a fly in my soup

Leonard Rhinelander was the son of a rich New York family. He married Alice Jones, his chambermaid, after a three year romance. After a few months of marriage and through pressure from his family, Rhinelander sued for an annulment on the grounds that Alice had hidden her race (her mother was white, her father was of "mixed race"). The court required Alice to undress on the witness stand for examination of her skin color. The court wanted the jury to inspect her nipples. However, Alice won the case as the court ruled that Alice had not been fraudulent about her racial identity, Rhinelander must have known she was not white.
Alice filed a suit for separation from her husband claiming abandonment, and sued his father claiming that he ruined her marriage. Alice received $31,500 plus $3,600 payable quarterly for the rest of her life. Ironically, Rhinlander died in 1936, Alice died in 1989.

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