Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I'm Not saying she's a Gold Digger But.....
Last May, E Jiehao, one of the former male contestants on an episode of the Chinese dating show "You Are the One" filed a lawsuit against Sun Yali, the female contestant on that episode, for "annulling their marriage agreement". His lawsuit requested that Sun return a BMW that was given to her by him for the purposes of marriage – a betrothal gift (彩礼). While Sun acknowledged that the E had paid for the vehicle, she said that they had never signed any sort of marriage contract. According to her statement, E had given her the BMW to "flaunt his wealth" and not as a "betrothal gift". For this reason, she refused to give him back the BMW. On November 16th, the "E v. Sun" trial was held at the Chaoyang courthouse in Beijing.
The plaintiff’s side of the story
During the trial, the plaintiff’s (E Jiehao) lawyer said that the two parties became acquainted during an episode of "You Are the One" that was filmed in September 2010. In October 2010, he and Sun entered into a romantic relationship and began talking about getting married. The plaintiff, intent on marrying her, gave the defendant a 4,000 RMB Sharp LCD TV and a BMW 318. The vehicle was registered under the Sun Yali’s name. The plaintiff’s lawyer also submitted two "group photographs" of the Sun Yali with the plaintiff and his parents to the court, as to confirm that she had met his parents. The plaintiff’s lawyer asserted that Sun Yali, after meeting the plaintiff’s parents and discovering his family's financial situation wasn’t as good as had been implied (by the BMW), broke up with him. The plaintiff’s lawyer withdrew the appeal for the return of the LCD TV, only requesting that Sun Yali return the BMW.
The defendant’s side of the story
Last May, after E had filed a lawsuit against her, Sun Yali posted on Weibo that she’d been "framed" – that they’d never been boyfriend and girlfriend, nor had there ever been talk of getting married. However, on November 16th, the defendant’s (Sun Yali) lawyer told a different story, admitting that the two of them had been romantically involved, that the BMW had been given to her by the plaintiff, but denying that the defendant had ever met the plaintiff’s parents or that they’d ever entered into a marriage contract. According to the defendant’s lawyer, the plaintiff had faked the group photographs. Further while the plaintiff had dated the defendant, he’d also been with other women – he was a womanizer – and after discovering this, the defendant had refused to marry him. Hearing this, the judge asked whether or not the defendant wanted to have the "fake photograph" appraised –the defendant’s lawyer declined. As both parties’ accounts were quite different, the court decided to conclude the mediation, and that the verdict would be delivered at a future date.
Was the BMW a "betrothal gift" or "flaunting wealth"?
Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant appeared at the trial. As the trial centred on whether or not the two parties had been romantically involved, the lawyers had to phone their clients multiple times to verify various information. Whether or not the
BMW had been given to the defendant by the plaintiff as a "betrothal gift" became the main point of contention. The defendant’s lawyer stated that she was financially independent, and that she hadn't forced the plaintiff to give her anything. Further, the court’s own interpretation of the phrase "betrothal gift" is limited to: "giving some form of payment [for marriage] according to a custom", but Beijing is a large city, with no "betrothal gift" custom. In fact, both parties had meet on "You Are the One", a new and very in-vogue dating show. The plaintiff didn't give the BMW to the defendant as a "betrothal gift", rather, he was "flaunting his wealth" and was being a "womanizer". After hearing this, the plaintiff’s lawyer noted that "in-vogue" and "custom" are not necessarily contradictory terms, and that the act of a man giving a woman a "betrothal gift" for marriage is a customary convention, which must not be proven.
On December 16th, the Chaoyang courthouse handed down the verdict that Sun Yali should return compensation for the BMW (280,000 RMB) to E Jiehao.
The court ruled that the dating show "You Are the One" itself was grounded in the concept that men and women come together looking for an ideal marriage partner. That the plaintiff and the defendant became acquainted on the set of this show – soon after becoming boyfriend and girlfriend – indicates that the two parties, at least when they first became romantically involved, did so with some intention of eventually getting married. Further, while the defendant said that she’d never met the plaintiff’s parents, the group photographs that were submitted suggested otherwise. Also, in submitted recorded telephone conversations between the defendant and her friends, she repeatedly made references to marrying the plaintiff. Therefore, it is apparent that the two parties had once shown an interest in getting married. The court holds that the plaintiff, on this basis, purchased the BMW for the defendant, and that gifts given when two people are romantically involved possess a "betrothal-like quality" (as opposed to gifts given under non-romantically involved contexts). Finally, as the BMW was already registered under the defendant’s name, and because the value of the car had already depreciated from use and time, the court ruled that Sun Yali to return a majority amount of the cost of the BMW to E Jiehao. Following the verdict, it was unclear weather or not Sun Yali would appeal the decision.
Source: ifeng, jinghua.cn
Posted by M and A Legal Management at 4:51 PM