A Broken Engagement

Date: August 9, 2011
Posted In: DLP Law

           Debbie became romantically involved with Wilbur. On Valentine\’s Day, Wilbur proposed to Debbie, and they became engaged to be married. Wilbur had truly been struck by Cupid\’s arrow, and in order to raise money to buy a ring large enough to impress Debbie, he had sold his favorite hunting rifle, his assorted beer can collection, and his entire collection of Elvis memorabilia. Wilbur was truly love-struck and nothing else mattered.

            Wilbur presented the engagement ring to Debbie who was dazzled by its brilliance and size. She agreed to marry Wilbur.

            Unfortunately just one month later on St. Patrick\’s Day, Debbie met someone else- Shamus- and broke poor Wilbur\’s heart when she announced the engagement was off. Not only had Wilbur lost the love of his life but he had sold his most treasured possessions in order to raise money for the ring. His grief was quickly replaced by anger and Wilbur demanded the ring back.

QUESTION:  Will Wilbur be successful?

ANSWER:     In cases such as this involving an engagement ring or a family heirloom or other similar things intimately connected with the marriage, the donor, or Wilbur in this case, is entitled to get the ring back. Generally though, gifts given by others to a couple in contemplation of a marriage that eventually falls through, are not recoverable in the absence of fraud.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.