Woman Forced to Return $40,000 Engagement Ring After 5-Year Legal Battle With Ex

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In 2011, Rodney Ripley, 54, proposed to girlfriend Jennifer Rutten, 50, on the Brooklyn Bridge with a 3-carat cushion-cut stone set in a Tacori ring, according to the New York Post. Rodeny, who is from Wisconsin, proposed to Jennifer in New York because she was living and working there at the time. Although the proposal sounds lovely, unfortunately things did not work out. 

  • The couple went their separate ways less than a year after the proposal, without ever getting married. So, Rodney asked for the ring back.

    engagement ring
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    However, Jennifer was not willing to give up the ring so easily. 

    “I was dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and he started harassing me,” Jennifer told the New York Post.

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  • Because it didn't seem like Jennifer was going to hand over the ring willingly, Rodney sued her in Manhattan Supreme Court. 

    Jennifer's lawyer, William Costigan, tried to argue that the ring was worth less than $13,000, which would put it below the $25,000 civil-court threshold, according to Manhattan court papers.

  • However, Rodney was no fool -- he kept the receipt that proved the ring had been sold for $39,057.


    He had also insured it for $40,000.

  • According to New York law, if no marriage occurs, the ring must be returned, Rodney's lawyer Bruce Connolly, told The Post.

    But Jennifer and her lawyer didn't give up that easily! They then tried to argue that Manhattan didn't have jurisdiction because in 2013 she had returned to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the couple had originally met. 

    Obviously, that didn't work. And with one final attempt to keep the ring, Jennifer accused Rodney of being abusive.

    “From what I recall, he became angrier, he became more typically abusive, emotionally abusive,” Jennifer reportedly said. “I was angry. I didn’t want to return it.”

    However, she didn't have any evidence to back it up, and it likely would not have altered the case even if she had. 

  • On Aug. 28, after a five-year legal battle, Jennifer was ordered to return the ring. 


    “Here the undisputed facts show that the ring was given in contemplation of marriage and that marriage did not occur,” wrote Justice Robert Reed in his decision. “Thus, Ripley is entitled to the return of the ring.”

    She was given 45 days to return it or pay her ex $39,057.

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