JOHNSTOWN - A city man is seeking the state court system's intervention in a broken engagement, asking a judge to order his ex-fiancee to return a diamond ring she's had for almost eight years.
William R. Sullivan of Johnstown filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Johnstown against Erica VonderHeide. The pair share the same FonClair Terrace address, the lawsuit says, and county tax records indicate they own the house jointly.
According to the lawsuit, Sullivan spent $16,335 at Northeastern Fine Jewelry on a platinum and 14-karat white gold ring with a center-cut diamond and smaller brilliant-cut diamond on Dec. 22, 2006. He gave VonderHeide the ring on Christmas, three days later.
But the couple broke off the engagement in October 2013, and Sullivan asked her to return the ring a month later, the lawsuit said.
"The transfer of the said ring by plaintiff to defendant was subject to the condition, agreed upon by plaintiff and defendant and implied by operation of law that said ring would be returned to plaintiff by defendant in the event that the marriage between plaintiff and defendant did not occur," the lawsuit said.
The ring is now worth $19,485, the lawsuit said. In the court filing, Sullivan said he's asking for either the ring to be returned or a judgment of $19,485 plus interest against VonderHeide.
In an answer to the lawsuit filed Thursday, VonderHeide said she "denies each and every other allegation and suballegation."
New York civil-rights laws indicate a court can award ownership of a ring or other property to the giver in the event of "a contemplated marriage which has not occurred."
A phone message left for Sullivan and a Facebook message for VonderHeide were not returned. Sullivan's attorney, Michael Albanese of Gloversville, was unavailable for comment. VonderHeide's attorney, Eric Dickerson of Schenectady, did not return a phone message seeking comment.