A family was torn apart after a Florida man killed a 23-year-old man in a car accident last year. The parents of the young man have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man who ran through a stop sign and killed their son. The accident already exhibits the man’s reckless behavior, but now people are scratching their heads after he made another reckless move.
According to court documents, the wealthy Polo club founder recently adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend. The legal stunt will likely affect the civil lawsuit against him.
In a move many are calling “unprecedented”, the adoption means that the girlfriend is now entitled to a portion of a trust the man had set up for his children. The trust had previously been set up so that the money set aside would not be considered part of his financial worth.
It is likely not a coincidence that the trust was set up in advance of a jury trial the man is facing. In the event that a jury awards a significant portion of the man’s money to the victims of his negligence, the trust will not be touched. The man said he set up the trust to protect his children in the future and not to shield his assets from the lawsuit filed against the victim’s family.
The tactic, while legal, may still be highly contentious. If the man is found guilty for his horrific crime, he should be punished accordingly. According to tests taken hours after the car crash, the man’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. He also faces criminal charges of manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and leaving the scene of a crash. His criminal trial is in March where he could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In terms of this civil trial, however, it is not known what a jury will decide. The civil hearing is also set for March and will follow his criminal trial.
Source: The Palm Beach Post, “Polo club founder Goodman adopts his adult girlfriend,” Jason Schultz, Feb. 2, 2012