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Lindh v. Surman

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.560 Pa. 1, 742 A.2d 643 (1999)

Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff sued the Defendant to recover an engagement ring, or its value, after the engagement was broken.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The donor of an engagement ring (which is a conditional gift) is entitled to the return of the ring even if the donor broke the engagement.

Facts. The Plaintiff Lindh, in 1993, asked the Defendant Surman to marry him, and the Defendant accepted the proposal along with a ring which Plaintiff purchased for $17,400, but that was valued at $21,200. Thereafter, the couple split later that year, and Plaintiff broke the engagement asking for return of the ring. The Defendant at that time returned the ring. Later, the couple attempted to reconcile and decided again to get married. The Plaintiff again gave the ring to Defendant in contemplation of marriage. Then, in 1994, Plaintiff again called off the engagement and asked for the ring back. Defendant refused to return the ring and the Plaintiff filed this lawsuit. The case was presented to arbitration, where the Defendant prevailed. Plaintiff appealed the arbitrator’s decision to a trial court where the non-jury trial resulted in a verdict for Plaintiff in the amount of $21,200. Defendant appealed to the intermediate appellate court which affirmed the decision of the trial court
. Then Defendant appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Issue. Does the fact that the engagement ended due to the fault of the Plaintiff create a condition that does not require the Defendant to return the ring?
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