Florida businessman legally adopts girlfriend in attempt to shield assets from wrongful death lawsuit

John Goodman, 48, the founder of the International Polo Club Beach was involved in a motor vehicle accident in February 2010 in which a person was killed. Now, Goodman has gone to great lengths to protect his assets against a likely wrongful death award against him.

king county wrongful death lawyerGoodman ran a stop sign in February 2010 and collided with a car driven by Patrick Wilson, 23; Wilson was killed in the accident. Goodman was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of the accident. Reports say that Goodman’s blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit at the time of the accident.

Wilson’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Wilson. Wrongful death statutes allow the families of a deceased person to file a claim against the person whose negligent behavior resulted in the death of their loved one.

Goodman, in an attempt to shield his assets from a wrongful death judgment against him, has legally adopted his girlfriend, Heather Hutchins, 42. This move may be beneficial to Goodman because he is legally able to set aside money in a trust for his children which reduces his financial worth when the wrongful death jury awards damages to Wilson’s family. Goodman also has two minor children who are legitimate beneficiaries.

A probate court will make the determination of whether the adoption was a sham. If the probate court rules that the adoption was a sham, then Goodman cannot shield his assets in a trust.

Goodman’s attorney, Dan Bachi, said the adoption, “has nothing to do with the lawsuit currently pending against him.” We wonder if Bachi said this with a straight face or a wink. Goodman’s girlfriend and now daughter admits that her dating relationship with Goodman began in 2009.

Hopefully, Wilson’s family will get the justice they deserve as their son’s life was taken away himself and the family prematurely and he was an innocent victim of drunken driving. And, hopefully Goodman will get the justice he deserves which includes criminal penalties of up to 30 years in prison.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by drunk drivers and we represent the families of those killed with their wrongful death claims.

Source: Fox News: Florida businessman, 48, adopts adult girlfriend, 42, as his daughter

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