Roy Williams proposed to his girlfriend and former Miss Texas, Brooke Daniels, via mail this summer. (Yes, you read that right.) He mailed her among other things a $76,000 engagement ring. On June 30, Williams filed a lawsuit to get the ring back. An injunction hearing is scheduled in Odessa, Tex. this Friday. So before court is in session, Legal Blitz Scholar Sal Filippello examined if Williams will succeed in his lawsuit. Filippello’s verdict upon further review of Texas law? The ring belongs to Williams and should be returned immediately.
The Texas Appellate Court held in 2003 that “a gift to a person to whom the donor is engaged to be married, made in contemplation of marriage, although absolute in form, is conditional; and on breach of the marriage engagement by the donee the property may be recovered by the donor.” Curtis v. Anderson, 106 S.W.3d 251, 255 (Tex. App. Austin 2003). In Curtis, the court held that because it was the donor’s fault that the marriage did not come to fruition the donor could not recover the engagement ring. Unlike Curtis, in Williams’ case, it was not his fault that the marriage did not occur. Ms. Daniels, the donee, rejected the proposal, but kept the ring. Therefore, under Texas law, this is a breach of contract under the conditional-gift rule and it is likely that the court will hold in Williams’ favor and order Ms. Daniels to return the ring.