NY Man Sues Ex-Fiancée After She Breaks Off Engagement

Some of my readers will remember that some time ago I wrote about the law and custom regarding broken engagements, including blog entries on the issue of the return of engagement rings, and ‘breach of promise to marry’  lawsuits. In an interesting twist, a NY man, Steven Silverstein, is suing her ex-financée Kendra Platt-Lee for more than $61,000 in expenses related to their planned wedding, what he claims is her share of rent he paid for their joint apartment during the time they were living together,and for funds –they were engaged to each other once before this latest chapter– $2,975 wedding deposits, $13,756.69 for damages to wedding vendors, $19,269.90 in funds she withdrew , $25,668.75 for what he alleges is her half of the rent he paid while they lived together. She returned a $32,000 engagement ring he had given her; while he concedes she returned it, he is alleging that her return of the ring in question indicates her awareness of the “conditioned nature of all gifts” given to her by Silverstein “in contemplation of marriage”.

As they apparently had no written agreeement, I find it unlikely he would prevail for the full amount he is seeking–but of course I do not know what types of records he has kept related to these matters, what other evidence the parties are able to provide, and ultimately what a court would rule. Does considerations of equity mean that she owes him at least some of the amount he is seeking? If so, how much? Is this a breach of contract? Or should Silverstein just be out the money as the price of failed love? Let me know what you think!






NY Man Sues Ex-Fiancée After She Breaks Off Engagement — 5 Comments

  1. Depends on the evidence, as you say– the issue of the engagement ring has been resolved by her return of it. If he can show what money he put into the joint account, versus what she took out of it, maybe he gets some of that back. Fairness seems to suggest she should pay half of the wedding expenses. Not so sure about the rent, though– depends on what they agreed to, I suppose. I’m not sure she’s just a gold-digger, as some people seem to have suggested. It’s probably more complicated then that.

  2. Again, it depends in the evidence… That said, I believe the return of the ring indicates an acknowledgement of an agreement. This looks like 3 different issues. I think the return of the wedding ring would indicate that any wedding related expenses should be awarded to Mr. Silverstein. That seem fair. The rent issue is less clear to me as it would probably be difficult to prove any type of agreement regarding him covering rent for her or her paying him back. The money in the account is the third issue. I guess that just depends on the evidence he has, but it is a joint account with the understanding that each has an equal right to the funds.
    I can understand his frustration, but anything outside the wedding expenses just looks like he is reaching to me. I don’t know enough about precedence regarding this topic, so this is only my uninformed opinion. Very interesting topic.

    • Thanks Richard, for your comments on this. I agree– a lot depends on what types of agreements they had but splitting wedding expenses seems an equity issue to me, if nothing else. The bank account question might be addressed by what records he has regarding funds going-in-and-out and from whom. I have no idea about the rent issue, though, or what their mutual understanding was about that…will be interesting to see what happens!

  3. Another interesting posting– thanks for this! Always curious what legal topic you will pick next. cheers! A.P.

    • thank you for the kind words! suggestions always welcome….although I admit my ideas for topics tends to outstrip the time available to write about them!

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