British Columbia

Lawsuit over $228K engagement ring withdrawn by B.C. widower

Jerry Renkers, a 65-year-old widower, filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court last week in an attempt to retrieve a Tiffany engagement ring that cost nearly $228,000.

Jerry Renkers, 65, withdraws lawsuit against Jessica Miller, 31, after story goes public

Jerry Renkers had filed a lawsuit to get a Tiffany ring back 2:19

Jerry Renkers, a 65-year-old widower, filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court last week in an attempt to retrieve a Tiffany engagement ring that cost nearly $228,000.

But after his story went public and reporters started looking for interviews, Renkers has formally withdrawn his lawsuit.

"The action was discontinued," said Renker's lawyer Sonia Kainth. Asked for details, Kainth replied, "We're not proceeding. I won't be making any other comment."

Widower Jerry Renkers is suing for the return of this 3.42-carat yellow diamond Tiffany engagement ring, which cost a total of $227,920, from Jessica Miller, following their breakup. (B.C. Supreme court documents/B&W photo)

Kainth wouldn't say whether a settlement had been reached.

In the court documents, Renkers says he met Jessica Miller, 31, through the online dating website in 2012. The retiree says he proposed to the UBC student just over one year later.

Shortly after the engagement, Renkers says Miller picked out a 3.42-carat yellow diamond ring, which cost $203,500 plus an additional $24,420 in taxes, from Tiffany & Co., and he purchased it for her. 

Ten days later, Renkers says, the relationship ended. 

Renkers says he asked for the engagement ring back, but Miller refused. On Valentine's Day, he filed a lawsuit against Miller in B.C. Supreme Court to get it back. 

Widowed months before dating 

In his affidavit, Renkers says his wife of 25 years died less than four months before he started dating Miller. 

"My wife's passing was very hard on me. I believed that if I started dating again it would help me move on with my life. As a result, I decided to complete an online dating profile."

That profile was posted to Established Men, a free online dating website that claims to connect "young, beautiful women with successful men."

Renkers met Miller online, and went on their first date in January 2013. Renkers says he was "enamoured" with Miller. She reminded him of his late wife and he "felt a strong connection with her." 

A costly relationship

Renkers and Miller began dating, and he says he started supporting her financially. He says he spent tens of thousands of dollars to repay her debts (including UBC tuition), furnish her Kitsilano apartment and pay her rent, repair and straighten her teeth, purchase her a new Volkswagen, and provide her with money for incidentals. He also gave her a Visa card and several blank cheques. 

Renkers says Miller's "out of control spending" was taking a toll on him.

"I reach my breaking point when I learned that [Miller] purchased a laptop and a bike for her brother."

Renkers says he confronted Miller about it last month, and the two broke up. Renkers says he has since cut off all financial ties to Miller and is trying to get the ring back before she sells it.

He is now claiming he should get the engagement ring back because the couple never married and their engagement has been terminated. 

Renker's allegations represent only one side of the story. However, his lawsuit was withdrawn before Miller could file a statement of defence.

This is not the first time an engagement ring has been the subject of a heated court battle.

In September, Charlie Zampieri sued his ex-fiancée Jessica Bennett to get back the $16,500 diamond and sapphire engagement ring he had given her.

With files from CBC's Steve Lus


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