Coronavirus Wedding Woes: Mother Of Sacramento Bride-to-Be Files Lawsuit Against Rustic Barn Venue
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - It's supposed to be one of the biggest days of their lives, but a Sacramento couple and their families may be out thousands of dollars after having to cancel their wedding because of the coronavirus.
April 18th, 2020 was supposed to mark a major milestone for Melanie and Steven, a happy couple ready to tie the knot. Their spark, family members say, makes them a perfect match.
"They really bring out the best in each other," said Melissa Porter, the mother of the bride. Porter was supposed to be days away from her daughter's big day, not filing a lawsuit against the wedding venue.
"It's her wedding, you know. It's a big deal," Porter said. "The summer's out so we have to move it all the way to the fall."
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The couple to cancel their spring wedding amid the coronavirus crisis because the stay-at-home order wouldn't be lifted in time.
The wedding was booked at the Lehman Barn at Varozza Ranch, near El Dorado Hills. They provided CBS13 this statement:
"We have made every attempt to offer premium available fall 2020 dates, as well as 2021 dates to our couples whose weddings have been affected by the COVID-19 event.
"Services to these clients were extended per contract signed April 2019 and services rendered over the course of the planning process, including vendor meetings, date reservation and secondary vendor contracts. Many hours were invested to ensure the best outcome. We cannot refund the full amount of the contract due to that investment and the decision made by the client to cancel all event options with us after generous allocations were offered. We swiftly sent contractual reimbursement and extended contractual agreements to do so, considering the COVID-19."
The venue says at the time that was offered Melanie and Steven, only one date was taken. Porter said scheduling can be difficult due to work conflicts, as her daughter is a member of the California National Guard.
"It will be great if there was a rescheduled date that works with our schedule but there's not," Porter said. That's why Porter and the couple are asking for a full refund for the price of the venue, which is around $6,500.
Lehman Barn told CBS13 they paid out what they're contractually obligated to, which isn't the full amount.
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That's why Melissa turned to Jonathan G. Stein for legal help. Stein said both he and his client haven't seen any money at this point, and at this point, a partial refund won't do. He says Porter's contract, per the public health crisis, doesn't hold up.
"California law has long held that when there's an act of God or an order closing things, contracts are void," Stein said.
Stein and his clients are hoping to get their money back and find somewhere else to go.
"My daughter is devastated. She's so upset," Porter said. "She researched all these places and wanted to have this rustic wedding in a barn."
Stein says he's not going to serve the lawsuit until the courts reopen, but the complaint has already been filed. He plans on asking for a jury trial to let them decide the couple's and venue's fate.
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