Albinger v. Harris

Supreme Court of Montana48 P.3d 711 (2002)

Facts

In 1995, Albinger (plaintiff) and Harris (defendant) began a tumultuous, three-year relationship. In December of that year, Albinger gave Harris a diamond ring. After some initial hesitation, Harris accepted and the parties agreed upon a wedding date. This wedding date was subsequently cancelled, with Harris returning the diamond ring to Albinger. The parties reunited soon thereafter, and Albinger gave the ring to Harris once again. The parties endured several more failed engagements, with the ring being returned to Albinger upon each separation, only to be given back promptly to Harris upon reuniting. At the parties’ final separation, Albinger insisted that Harris take all of the items he gave her, including the ring, and never return. Albinger later brought an action against Harris to have the ring returned. The district court determined that the ring was a conditional gift, to be completed upon the parties’ marriage. As the parties did not marry, the district court ruled that the ring should be returned to Albinger, as all of the gift’s conditions were not satisfied. Harris petitioned for certiorari to the Supreme Court of Montana.

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