A Case of Mistaken Paternity

In 1977, Bullough married Hundley because she told him she was pregnant with his child – Dale Jr. – who was born the following year.  In 2004, the parties divorced after a two-day trial, and the trial court made a division of the parties’ marital estate.  More than six years later, Bullough learned that Dale Jr. was not his biological son through DNA testing.  A few months later, the Will Slip 2011 Trust was created for the benefit of Bullough and the children of Dale Jr.  Bullough then assigned his claims against Hundley to the Trust, and seventeen days later, the Trust filed suit.

The essence of the Trust’s claims was that Hundley deceived Bullough into marrying her by lying about the paternity of Dale Jr., and continued to lie throughout the marriage.  As damages, the Trust sought the value of the support Bullough provided Hundley during more than 20 years of marriage, the value of the assets Hundley received as part of the divorce, and the parties’ art collection.  The trial court found that the 2004 final divorce decree barred the Trust’s claims and granted Hundley’s motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment.  The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that because the Trust’s claims arise out of facts that could have been litigated in the divorce, they were barred by res judicata.

Hevey v. Hundley

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