Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fowler v. Perry case brief

Fowler v. Perry case brief summary
830 N.E.2d 97 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005)

SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff injured party filed a complaint against defendant former fiancee seeking the return of money the fiancee allegedly spent without authorization and the value of a stolen engagement ring. After conducting a bench trial, the Hamilton Superior Court (Indiana) entered judgment in favor of the fiancee. The injured party appealed.

-The parties lived together and had one child.
-Sometime after the injured party purchased an engagement ring for the fiancee, she moved from Missouri to Indiana.
-The injured party intended to follow after he was done with college.
-Prior to the injured party's graduation, the fiancee broke off her relationship with the injured party. -The fiancee never returned the ring, which was later stolen, and retained the money she received from the insurance claim.

-The appellate court concluded that the injured party's unjust enrichment claim was properly denied.
-The appellate court held that the injured party was entitled to recover the value of the ring, however, because the marriage never occurred and, thus, the fiancee's absolute interest in the ring, which was conditioned upon the marriage, never vested.

-Although the injured party alleged that the fiancee was only to use his money to pay his bills, the fiancee testified that she was authorized to use the money to pay all bills for the household, which included the couple's son; thus, there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court's conclusion that the fiancee was not unjustly enriched.

OUTCOME: The trial court's judgment regarding the allegedly misappropriated money was affirmed. The trial court's judgment as to the value of the engagement ring was reversed, and the case was remanded for entry of judgment in favor of the injured party on that issue.

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