Valentine's Day Disappointments
and Other Unpleasant "Courting" Experiences

This Valentine’s Day you’d probably like to be anywhere but in a courtroom. However, certain people will undoubtedly give the wrong gift, recite a bad poem, or cancel dinner plans with their significant others. And some unlucky individuals could hear “See you in court!” after breaking such a romantic rule.

If you don’t have a date this Valentine’s Day, cheer up. Failed romantic “courtships” literally landed some partners in the courtroom, according to Jon Opelt, Houston director of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

The following personal relationship problems resulted in lawsuits:

Give Me Back My Ring—The Courts Rule Both Ways
After his ex-fiance broke off their engagement, a Maryland State Trooper sued the woman because she refused to return the $5,000 engagement ring. The woman claimed the ring was a gift and she was not obligated to return it. The man testified that the couple had broken up six times during their engagement. The court agreed with the woman and let her keep the ring.

“Ex-fiance to appeal in ring lawsuit,”
The Herald Mail, Sept. 30, 1999
Hagerstown, Maryland

Last April, a man sued his ex-fiance; seeking return of the engagement ring he had given his girlfriend 10 years prior, or payment of $14,980, the ring’s appraisal value, plus punitive damages. The court sided with the man. One legal scholar, who studies ring-return cases, noted that courts have fallen into a pattern in which men are permitted to recover engagement rings or their worth, but women often have no recovery method for emotional turmoil, performing household tasks and for wedding planning.

Ex-Fiance Sues to Get Back Diamond Ring,
” The Legal Intelligencer Suburban Edition, April 26, 2000
A national publication produced in Pennsylvania

Fake Engagement Ring and Fake Hair Spell Trouble for Groom
After three months of unblissful marriage, two Michigan newlyweds filed for divorce and asked a jury to decide if the bride should receive payment from the groom for claims that he gave her a fake diamond engagement ring and spent their wedding money on personal hair transplants.

“Woman claims new husband used wedding money for hair transplants,
” Associated Press, October 6, 2000

Take the Car and Run
After her ex-boyfriend bought a car that she liked, a woman in Oregon made a deal with the man that she would date him again, and even promised marriage, if he signed over the title to his Toyota 4Runner to her. The man agreed to her terms; so the woman took his car and then broke up with him four days later. The ex-girlfriend refused to return the car claiming, “he did not deserve it.” So the man sued the woman for the car or its cash value.

“Oregon’s Unusual Lawsuits,”
The Oregonian, February 25, 1999

The line between love and litigation is one you don’t want to cross,” said Opelt.

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

2500 City West Boulevard, Suite 300 • Houston, Texas 77042
E-mail: sosueme@ • Administrative: (713) 267-2302 • Fax: (713) 267-2267