British Columbia

For love or money: Kamloops man loses bid to recoup engagement ring, money from former fiancée

A B.C. man hoping to recover almost $100,000 he believed his former fiancée owed him after their break-up has come away from B.C. Supreme Court empty-handed.

Judge rules both ring and money given as unconditional gifts, not contingent on the marriage going through

A Kamloops man attempting to force his former fiancée to return a $17K engagement ring and repay a $85K loan has had his claims denied in B.C. Supreme Court. (SK Design/Shutterstock)

A Kamloops man hoping to recover almost $100,000 from his former fiancée has come away from B.C. Supreme Court empty-handed. 

The man — identified only as Mr. S. — was asking for $85,000 he had "loaned" the woman when they were still romantically involved and for the return of a $17,000 engagement ring.

Mr. S. contended he deserved to be compensated, because the marriage never went through.

But in his ruling, Justice Murray Blok dismissed both claims, determining that Mr. S. had no expectation of repayment after the break-up because both the ring and money were given to the woman — identified only as Ms. R. — as unconditional gifts.

Whirlwind romance

"Mr. S. and Ms. R had the very definition of a whirlwind relationship," wrote Blok, noting the two first became romantically involved in October of 2013, started discussing marriage and ring-shopping soon after, before eventually getting engaged on Christmas Day of the same year.

But the engagement lasted only 11 days. 

According to the court documents, Mr. S. — a 65-year-old retired businessman —  had paid off Ms. R.'s $60,000 line of credit and $25,000 mortgage in October of 2013. 

The payment "came about following a general discussion of finances and how Mr. S ... can write off interest as an expense," read the statement of evidence.

"He explained that since they were about to be married, it made financial sense to carry out these arrangements."

Ms. R., 59,  testified that when he first offered to retire her debts she stated "I don't know if I'm comfortable with that."

The full-time health-care worker also testified that Mr. S. "told her that he had done this sort of thing for many people. He had the means because he was very wealthy ..."

Relationship sours

On Christmas of 2013, Mr. S. presented Ms. R with the ring and the two left a few days later for Palm Springs. That's where the relationship soured, according to Mr. S.'s testimony, after  "a very unfortunate event that occurred during a time of intimacy ..."

According the court documents, "As Ms. R's later evidence made clear, essentially Mr. S. forced himself sexually on Ms. R ... According to Mr. S., Ms. R. asked him to stop, but he replied 'I will decide when to stop' and carried on. Mr. S. said that despite his immediate apology, 'she clammed up and was not communicative. The whole tone changed.'"

Ms. R. testified she felt "like a piece of meat" and that she thought he was a "monster" after the incident.

She broke up with him over the phone two nights later on Jan. 4. 

Ring refund

Ms. R. testified that when she offered to return the ring, Mr. S told her he didn't want it, but rather she should try and take it back to the jeweller for a refund she could spend on her daughter's upcoming wedding.

Mr. S. claimed he himself did not go the jewellery store to inquire about a refund because "I trusted her to do it."

Mr. S. also argued that he paid off Ms. R's debts as "a gift in contemplation of marriage" and that, because the marriage never took place, the money should have been returned." 

In his decision, Justice Blok found that if there were any conditions on the $85,000, they were never made explicit.

"I conclude that it is not obvious that the gift carried with it the implied term to be revocable if the marriage did not take place," he wrote. 

In deciding about the ring, Justice Blok wrote that Mr. S.'s suggestion that Ms. R. return it and use the money for her daughter's wedding made clear his intention.

"I am satisfied that Mr. S. gave the engagement ring to Ms. R. as an absolute or outright gift."