Ex-fiancé sues for return of $165,000 engagement ring

He gave the glittering $165,000 engagement ring to her on a plane ride to Hawaii, to the applause of other passengers seated nearby.

But since then, the relationship between Nigel Turner and Ann-Marie Orser has taken a nosedive.

And Turner, a self-employed man who lives in Maple Ridge, now is taking Orser to court in a bid to have the five-carat diamond ring, with its two one-carat diamond side stones, returned to him.

The couple began living together in October 2004 and in 2005, Turner used his own funds to buy the ring.

The ring was presented to Orser on the plane in November 2005 as a conditional gift — that condition being that the couple would marry, Turner says in a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

Orser wore it on the ring finger of her left hand at all times during the relationship, he says.

At the time, both had separated from their spouses and were in the process of obtaining divorces.

They told their families that they would marry each other after the divorces went through, but only Turner finalized his divorce before they broke up.

The civil claim says that in May 2007, the couple came to an agreement about property they owned prior to and while they were living with one another.

Turner says the agreement stipulated that neither would make or promise to make a gift to the other or any of the children of the other of a value exceeding $25,000, unless there was a signed agreement to do so. The agreement also set out assets that they believed were their separate properties, he says.

Orser set out in her attached schedule of asssets that she had the “Diamond Ring from Nigel Turner $180,000.”

Turner says he didn’t know that Orser had listed the ring in her assets, and claims she should have known that he was not aware of its inclusion.

“The defendant should not have included the promise ring in her schedule, and the defendant knew or ought to have known that,” says his lawsuit. “The plaintiff only discovered the listing of the promise ring in her schedule after their relationship breakdown, when the defendant refused to return the promise ring by relying on her schedule.”

Turner says he didn’t intend to provide an “outright” gift of the promise ring to her without the condition of marriage and adds that he didn’t provide her with a signed, written document gifting the ring to her.

The couple broke up in January 2009. Orser stopped wearing the ring and put it in a safety deposit box for safekeeping.

“Since the termination of their relationship, the plaintiff has repeatedly requested the return of the promise ring. The defendant has refused to return the promise ring.”

In Turner’s lawsuit, Orser has an address for service at a Vancouver law firm. A receptionist at the firm said there would be no comment.

It’s the second time in several months that a dispute over a pricey engagement ring has landed in B.C. Supreme Court.

An earlier dispute, involving a $16,500 ring, also revolved around whether the ring was a gift or part of a marriage contract.

Turner’s lawyer is the same lawyer who represented the fiancé in the prior case. She could not be reached for comment on Turner’s case or on the outcome of that previous case. Turner said he expected there would be publicity over his case, but declined further comment. A lawyer for the fiancée in the prior case also could not be reached.



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