The courts have found three factors important in deciding whether certain suits fall outside the statutory bar. The first factor is that the action should not be based on the actual breach of promise to marry, but should rely instead upon other, distinct common law rights. The second factor is that the action should not be subject to abuse by unscrupulous plaintiffs hoping to extort settlements out of defendants fearful of enormous jury verdicts. While several factors contribute to the abuse, the primary cause, excessive damages, is usually not present if the allowable damages are easily quantifiable and are limited to actual and demonstrable pecuniary loss. The third factor cited for granting exceptions to the statutes is the more general policy consideration that courts must not permit perpetrators of fraud to use the heartbalm statutes (which were enacted to prevent fraud) to immunize their wrongful actions.
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