International Polo Club Palm Beach
February 16, 2012 by staff
International Polo Club Palm Beach, A guardian for Wellington polo mogul John Goodman’s teenage children is asking a judge to toss out Goodman’s recent adoption of his 42-year-old girlfriend, saying the move defrauded the court, blindsided the children’s mother and shirked public policy on adoptions.
The paperwork, filed in Miami and attached to a Palm Beach County legal pleading last week, is the latest twist in the rare and perhaps unprecedented legal maneuvering from Goodman’s lawyers as he contests a wrongful-death suit filed by William and Lili Wilson.
The Wilsons’ 23-year-old son Scott was killed nearly two years ago in a car crash involving Goodman, who will stand trial next month on criminal charges of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. Attorneys are also gearing up for a trial in the civil case, rocked recently by Goodman’s adoption of his girlfriend, Heather Anne Hutchins.
Goodman’s reps have said it was a legal move to allow Hutchins to fight a company Goodman believes has mismanaged the trust he created for his children. The trust is worth several hundred million dollars.
The Wilsons’ attorneys argued that the adoption made Hutchins’ portion of the previously off-limits trust fair game for jurors to consider as part of Goodman’s net worth if they decide to award the couple damages for their son’s death.
Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley last month agreed and reversed his previous ruling keeping the trust out of the case.
Soon afterward, Miami attorney Joseph Rebak filed a motion in Miami-Dade court on behalf of the children’s Delaware-based guardian ad litem, Jeffrey Goddess, asking the court to throw out the adoption.
“I have never seen anything like this in my 31, 32 years practicing law,” Rebak said Wednesday of the adoption. “Obviously we think it’s wrong and we are hoping to have it set aside.”
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