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Doctor drops ring lawsuit, and agrees to pay ex's attorney fees

In an about-face, a prominent Houston surgeon has dropped his lawsuit demanding a $73,000 engagement ring back from his ex-fiancée and will instead pay $100,000 to cover her legal fees.

Craig Fischer, chief of digestive surgical oncology and associate professor of surgery at Methodist Hospital, apologized for his suit in a signed statement provided to the Houston Chronicle by the woman's attorney,Tony Buzbee.

"I apologize for filing a lawsuit against Nichole Johnson," the statement reads. "It was a big mistake on my part. I was wrong and should have never done it. I am immediately dropping the case and will pay Nichole $100,000 as attorney's fees. I also want to thank Nichole's attorneys for helping me understand the mistake I made. Again, I am sorry. I will have no further comment."

Buzbee said that Fischer had no choice but to drop the lawsuit, given that he had "accused her (Johnson) of being a charlatan who was out to get (his) money, and all that was a flat-out lie."

Differing views

In the lawsuit filed last month, Fischer said he bought the 4.06-carat ring from Zadok's Jewelers in Houston on Aug. 8. He also demanded that Johnson pay back $75,000 from a shared bank account and apartment lease.

Buzbee said the doctor didn't put up any money for the lease, and that Johnson and Fischer each deposited $5,000 into a joint account, not $25,000 that Fischer claimed.

"He jumped into the deep end of the pool and couldn't swim," Buzbee said. "It's funny that he filed a lawsuit against her and initiated all of this, and he ended up having to pay her for doing it."

Johnson, who earns more than $300,000 a year as an account executive for a Houston financial services company, tried to return the ring to Fischer after the Sept. 22 breakup but he didn't show up to retrieve it, Buzbee said.

"She agrees to give him the ring back, and he says he's going out of town and is 'not strong enough (emotionally) to get it,' " Buzbee said.

Meanwhile, text messages between the erstwhile couple, provided by Buzbee, showed Fischer as being moody and controlling as he tried to woo Johnson back by offering her lavish gifts that included a $12,000 watch.

The ring, please

Buzbee would not reveal whether Fischer has the ring, saying that "any other terms of the settlement are confidential." Late last month, though, Buzbee said he had the ring and planned to have it personally delivered to the doctor.

Johnson could not be reached for comment. Fischer did not return repeated calls and his attorney could not be reached for comment 

 

Robert Stanton
Houston Chronicle
October 10, 2011