A gift is a gift, and a gift giver can't transform that gift into a loan just because their feelings changed.
You don't need a restraining order for electronic harassment if you just use your phone's and computer's block and filter functions for his harassing emails and texts. Keep them in a file where you don't have to look at them but you'll have evidence if you do want to pursue some legal action. Sometimes the best strategy is just to ignore someone if they're seeking attention and you stop providing it. Eventually, they'll stop.
Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
A gift is a gift. However, can you
show or prove it was a gift? If it
is a gift . . . you owe him nothing!
If he sues you, countersue him
for filing a frivolous lawsuit and
for the harrassment. What does
the harrassment consist of, trying
to collect the alleged debt? Keep
copies of the emails/texts in case
you need as evidence in court. If
you need to . . . file for a PPO at
the court, It's not hard and you
can do it without an attorney.
Let him explain to the judge his
emails/texts to you once you
show them to the judge! You
can also bring your own
witnesses to bolster your case.
Talk to a local attorney to send
ex a 'cease and desist' letter.
It'll cost you $75-90.00 but
might stop ex from bothering
you anymore. Good luck.
THIS ANSWER IS PURELY FOR ACADEMIC DISCUSSION ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ANY TYPE OF LEGAL ADVICE OR LEGAL REPRESENTATION.
Yes your ex can sue you for the plane ticket. That's never a question (anyone can sue for anything). The real question is whether or not he would win. And the answer is - it depends on if the court agrees that it was a gift. He would have to be able to show the court that there was an expectation of the cost being returned OR the court would have to agree that the fact that you no longer intend to visit (the original reason for the gift) does not create a right of reimbursement. It is not possible to tell you an outcome with certainty since it depends on what the judge sees and hears, and how the judge interprets it.
To obtain a restraining order, you must be able to show a reasonable apprehension for your safety. Thus, it will depend on the frequency and tone of the emails and text messages.
~ Kem Eyo
The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.