An American lawyer is suing his ex-fiancée for refusing to return an engagement ring that cost him $100,000.

Ryan Strasser, a lawyer at Troutman Sanders in Washington DC, has filed a claim against his ex-fiancée Sarah Jones Dickens which describes how their fairy tale romance soured.

The couple began dating at the end of 2015, and moved into a five bedroom home in July 2016. Strasser, who was working at Hogan Lovells at the time, paid the rent, bills and all their living expenses. His belle offered no financial contribution, he says, because she was completing a PhD in art history and had no income.

After a few months of courting, Dickens gave Strasser a deadline of one year to propose. She allegedly told Strasser that the ring had to contain a diamond of between 3.5 and 5 carats, and stipulated that she needed to pre-approve it to ensure it was of sufficient quality.

Strasser looked for a ring with a budget of $40,000 in mind, but according to his claim he was informed by Dickens that that wouldn't cut it. He claims that she advised him to spend "extra" money on her ring, rather than "wasting" money on a large wedding. Her rationale was that she would be able to enjoy the ring daily, for the rest of her life. 

In December 2016 with wedding bells, not alarm bells, ringing in his ears, Strasser bought a ring meeting Dickens' requirements for $100,000. In order to do so he took out a loan of $30,000, with monthly payments of around $1,000 which will run until 2020, plus insurance.

Strasser got down on one knee and proposed in February 2017. But in January 2018, the couple had a tumultuous split and ended their engagement. 

Strasser moved out of the home, but continued to pay rent for Dickens to stay there to work on her dissertation. When Dickens finally vacated the property after several months, she neglected to tell Strasser. According to the lawyer's claim, she also caused considerable damage to the property by daubing "angry" writing in permanent marker on the walls, and leaving meat to rot in an unplugged fridge. Strasser is claiming $3,800 from Dickens to recoup the compensation that he had to pay to the landlord for the damage.

Strasser has also requested that Dickens return the engagement ring, but she has allegedly told him that it "belonged to her" forever, and that she would "never give it back. My precious. Mine". Strasser argues that it was a conditional gift, and that Dickens is in wrongful possession of it.  

How Strasser depicts his blushing non-bride

Strasser's claim also lists various items he owned, such as laptops and other electronic equipment, which he says are missing and should be returned to him.

Tip Off ROF


ShootyMcShootyface 12 October 18 08:27

The deadline should have started bells ringing. Lord knows, it did for me, many years ago.

I was particularly amused by the line "PhD in art history and had no income." The second part of the sentence was pretty much a given.

Does Strasser not have a number after his name? I thought Americans were big into that. Ryan Strasser IV or what have you.

Lydia 12 October 18 10:09

never give in to this kind of thing. My parents didn't even have an engagement ring and mine cost £150. If someone is materialistic just don't marry them or propose to them.


Under English law there is special case law on engagement rings and nromally they are an unconditional gift I believe  although here it sounds like he is suggesting she duped him in some way

Anonymous 12 October 18 12:33

She seems a real catch! I feel for the poor and desperate guy taking finance on an engagement ring, really hope he wins his lawsuit (or that she does the right thing and gives it back – obvious and standard etiquette this side of the pond).

3-ducks 12 October 18 12:55

What a ghastly specimen of a woman. What was he thinking?? At least he bailed in time.

Anon 12 October 18 13:34

God knows why I know this, but I had to look up what happens to an engagement ring on the dissolution of engagement and (in the UK at least) if it was a gift conditional upon marriage, I think the giver of the ring has a right to get it back?

This says more about my client base than anything else.

Just a ring 12 October 18 16:05

The ring is meaningless (though it does represent the bloke’s idiocy for meeting her crazy demands). It’s an unconditional gift. He’d be better off attacking the effect it could have on her tax status or similar and cause her a little pain that way. She can keep the ring and he can benefit from his costly $100k lesson.

I do rather love that she left the rotting meat... kinda suggests he did something very naughty to deserve it. Like question the value of her studies?

Miko Man Dershowitz 12 October 18 16:10

Agree with Anon 12 Oct 18 - Judge Judy would give him the ring. Given on condition of marriage. No marriage, then return the ring. There you go!

Gobblepig 12 October 18 17:00

I guess it depends what form of words the proposal took. For example:

Scenario A:

"Will you marry me?"


"Okay, here's this ring then."

That seems to me to be a good basis for a claim that she should hand over the ring.

Scenario B:




A claim based on this exchange would be less strong.