DULUTH, Minn. - A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a woman who says a millionaire broke her heart and took her brother's kidney.
Dorothy Zauhar, 59, and her 55-year-old brother, John Dahl, said her ex-fiance, Richard McNutt, got a kidney transplant, left the hospital, then two days later postponed the wedding indefinitely. They also alleged McNutt was romantically involved with another woman, a dialysis nurse, whom he has since married.
They sued McNutt, 64, who had one kidney and was on dialysis before he got Dahl's kidney, for more than $125,000 for breach of contract, infliction of emotional distress and misrepresentation.
Yesterday, District Judge Heather Sweetland dismissed all of Zauhar's claims and most of Dahl's claims. She said the claims either are based on an illegal contract - since buying and selling body organs is illegal - or a breach of promise to marry. Minnesota law does not allow for breach of promise suits.
Sweetland allowed Dahl's lawsuit claim for lost wages and other expenses related to the kidney donation to go forward because such reimbursement is allowed by law. Dahl's attorney said the precise amount to be sought hasn't been calculated.
Zauhar's attorney, Alan Kildow, said he planned to appeal, and Dahl said he was "very surprised" that most of the claims were thrown out.
McNutt's attorney, Nicholas Ostapenko, said his client "remains eternally grateful to Mr. Dahl" and would be willing to consider
paying for lost wages and other expenses. He said Dahl didn't ask him to pay such costs before the suit was filed.
McNutt, a partner in a development company, has said his romance with Zauhar was real and the breakup was nothing but a sincere change of heart.