WILMINGTON, Del., July 17 (UPI) -- Amanda Longacre, who says she was "heartbroken" at being ousted as Miss Delaware for being too old, has filed a lawsuit to get the title back.
The Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization and the Miss America Organization are named as the defendants in court papers filed this week in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Longacre is asking for $500,000 in damages to herself and an additional $2.5 million for all contestants disqualified by age rules along with her titles of Miss Pike Creek and Miss Delaware and the opportunity to compete in the Miss America Pageant in September.
The suit also asks that the state and national pageants make the age rules clear.
Longacre charges that contestants officials know are not eligible under pageant rules are allowed to compete because fewer young women are entering. She says Miss Delaware officials were well aware she was born in 1989 because she submitted her birth certificate and other documents.
Officials said Longacre was ineligible under Miss America rules because she will turn 25 in October, and Miss America rules require that contestants in the current year must still be 24 on Dec. 31.
In her filing, Longacre said that until she went public about her loss, the only apology the Delaware organization gave her was the offer of a "wine and cheese pajama party." Officials said later she would be given the scholarship money she earned by winning.
"I'm being treated as if I did something morally and ethically wrong," Longacre said in a recent interview. "I'm just really heartbroken."
Longacre said she made a number of sacrifices after winning the Delaware competition, including cutting her work hours to part-time. She said she also took a leave from her studies for a master's degree in social work and spent several thousand dollars on a voice coach, hair stylist and similar help.