A woman who formerly lived in Dallas has sued an ex-boyfriend, alleging he lied to her to induce her to terminate a pregnancy, then, after agreeing to pay her a total of $744,100 to “purchase her silence regarding the incident,” breached confidentiality and nondisparagement clauses in that agreement.
Plaintiff Brenda Gail Jarvis, who now lives in New York state, brings breach of contract, defamation/slander, and fraud in the inducement causes of action against David R. Kiger of Dallas. She seeks unspecified actual and punitive damages not to exceed $2 million, costs and attorney fees.
Elizabeth Basden, managing shareholder of Basden & Ivie of Dallas, who represents Jarvis, declines comment.
Steven R. Block, a partner in Block & Garden in Dallas, confirms he represents Kiger and says, “The suit is being nonsuited.” He says, “It’s in process.” He declines further comment.
An answering machine at Kiger’s residence was not accepting messages.
In the petition in Brenda Gail Jarvis v. David R. Kiger, filed Sept. 13 in the 193rd District Court in Dallas County, Jarvis alleges she and Kiger had an “intimate, personal relationship” in 2009 and early 2010, and she became pregnant with Kiger’s child. She alleges in the petition that, after she told him of the pregnancy, Kiger informed her “he did not want to be a father” and advised her to terminate the pregnancy because he had a rare genetic disorder — Von Hippel-Lindau — “that would likely be passed on to the child and which could result in severe illness for the child.”
Jarvis alleges she “reluctantly” terminated the pregnancy at Kiger’s urging and in reliance on his statements about the “disorder.” She says Kiger ended their relationship shortly afterward.
Jarvis alleges in the petition she subsequently learned Kiger had become involved with a younger woman and “had intentions of starting a family with her.” She alleges she asked Kiger if his genetic disorder would prevent him from having children with his “new love interest” but he “could not or would not provide any rational explanation as to why he had such an apparent change of heart about having children.”
Jarvis alleges she confronted Kiger and accused him of “lying to her about his alleged genetic disorder in a fraudulent attempt to coerce her into terminating the pregnancy against her wishes.”
“In an effort to purchase her silence regarding the incident, Defendant entered into an agreement by which Defendant would make payments to Plaintiff on the condition that she keep her abortion a secret. Plaintiff agreed to do so,” Jarvis alleges in the petition.
Jarvis alleges that she agreed to keep the agreement confidential at Kiger’s request. She alleges that the agreement called for Kiger to make “scheduled payments” to her and it also includes a confidentiality provision and a “Non-Disparagement provision,” which prohibits both her and Kiger from making “any disparaging or pejorative remarks, comments, or statements about the other party.”
Despite the confidentiality agreement, Jarvis alleges in the petition, she encountered numerous mutual acquaintances in Dallas who made comments about her past relationship with Kiger and their breakup and “accusations” she had “extorted money” from Kiger.
“From these encounters, it became clear to Plaintiff that Defendant violated the terms of the Agreement by disclosing information regarding the Agreement, as well as making disparaging comments” about her, Jarvis alleges in the petition.
In March, Jarvis alleges, she, Kiger and their lawyers met to “address” Kiger’s conduct and discuss his “defamatory statements to others.” She alleges she informed them she would move from Dallas “to avoid further personal humiliation.”
She alleges Kiger “admitted” at the March meeting he may have told some people about the “situation” with her, but he alleged those disclosures happened before they entered into the agreement. She alleges Kiger offered to “amend the Agreement to include payment of additional funds” to compensate her for the “embarrassment and humiliation” she had suffered.
However, Jarvis alleges that, as they subsequently met to “memorialize the proposed amendments,” Kiger’s counsel — who the petition does not identify — demanded medical records to prove she had undergone an abortion and ultimately “threatened” to report her to the Internal Revenue Service for not paying taxes on the settlement payments “even though counsel for Plaintiff and Defendant had repeatedly addressed the issue of whether said payments were subject to taxation.”
She alleges that Kiger fraudulently induced her to enter into the contract and he breached it by disclosing information about the existence of the contract and by making “disparaging or pejorative remarks” about her.
According to a copy of the June 16, 2010, settlement agreement, which is attached as an exhibit to the petition, Kiger agreed to pay Jarvis up to $744,100 over two years.
UPDATE: On Sept. 19, Jarvis filed a notice of nonsuit without prejudice.
— Brenda Sapino Jeffreys