781.708.4445

wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

Divorce Mediation Blog

Hoisted on Her Own a Fraudulent Petard, or There’s Just No Damn Honor Among Frauds Anymore: Shea v. Cameron – Part 2

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Levine Dispute Resolution - Alimony

It is tempting to dismiss the Massachusetts Appeals Court’s Shea v. Cameron as a confection of divorcing people behaving badly, and a tale of narcissistic comeuppance. But, the case actually has two important messages in it, for which we are grateful.

First, obviously, is that “not all human actions…have an avenue for legal recourse, no matter how much anger, sorrow, or anxiety they cause.” Those words would be well-posted over the courthouse door.

But second, the court underscored the gravity of the allegation “undue influence”, the key to many efforts to avoid enforcement of pre-marital and divorce agreements specifically, and to eschew responsibility for one’s own actions, more generally. The court aptly cited SJC precedent, in stating that:

    …a plaintiff must establish that the defendant overcame the will of the grantor …. [by]… some form of compulsion which coerces a person into doing something the person does not want to do.

And, in connection with Ms. Shea:

    …the undisputed evidence shows that [she] was in full command of her personal affairs and was neither ill, dependent nor enfeebled at the time of the transfer of real or personal property to Cameron.

Undue influence is a high bar, as well it should be.

 

Hoisted on Her Own a Fraudulent Petard, or There’s Just No Damn Honor Among Frauds Anymore: Shea v. Cameron – Part 1

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Levine Dispute Resolution - Alimony

It isn’t often that we get to see the phrase “joint stipulation of fraud”.

But, in the Massachusetts Appeals Court’s recent Shea v. Cameron, it is the perfect appetizer to a meal of mutual marital chicanery that resulted in the court’s decision to distance the itself from the:

    … “ingratitude, avarice, broken faith, brutal words, and heartless disregard of feelings of others,” which although blameworthy, are not legally compensable.

He lied about loving her. They married. He cheated. She filed for divorce. She withdrew her complaint. She filed a new complaint, this time for annulment. He snapped up that opportunity, only too happy to admit his faux amour.

Not so fast. After the parties presented their cooked-up annulment petition to the court, Ms. Shea served Mr. Cameron – on his way out of the courtroom, no less - with an complaint demanding a cookbook of damage remedies based on his “fraudulent inducement to marry”.

First, the Probate and Family Court, and then the Superior Court, kicked out Shea’s claims on summary judgment. But, the second judge “reported” the question to the Appeals Court, which took the matter up despite its procedural reservations. After a scholarly review of the history of various “heart balm” actions, the court wisely ended the matter for good, with unassailable logic:

  1. the law provides remedies for married persons when they break up, for equitable property division and support; and
  2. when the wife chose annulment instead of divorce, she gave up those remedies, since no marriage ever existed, a fiction of her own design.

Thus did Ms. Shea hoist herself, luring Mr. Cameron into admitting fraud, while plotting to then show him, but accidentally giving him a free pass, in the process.

There is just no honor in fraud anymore.

 



Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.:



Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles


recent posts


tags

med/arb The Seven Sins of Alimony resolve disputes family law Chouteau Levine family law arbitrators mediation alimony reform legislation Obamacare divorce arbitrator Boston lawyers alimony law annulment LDRC lawyer Uniform Arbitration Act Child Support Guidelines Massachusetts divorce lawyers Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC divorce mediator Matrimonial Arbitration family support divorce agreement arbitration Levine Dispute Resolution divorce litigation arbitrator medical benefits special master child support disputes divorce judgment MLB labor agreement Divorce SJC divorce mediations family and probate law disputes divorce arbitration fraud Massachusetts alimony orders private dispute resolution IRC §2704 Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act lawyer-attended mediation pre-ARA alimony health insurance Baseball arbitrators Massachusetts lawyers Baseball Arbitration dispute resolution mediations rehabilitative alimony divorce mediators high-risk methodology COLA separation divorce arbitrators Alimony Reform Act traditional negotiations litigation conciliation divorce mediation Massachusetts alimony self-adjusting alimony Divorce Agreements divorce and family law mediators health coverage Levine Dispute Resolutions Cohabitation alimony Levine Dispute Resolution Center family law arbitrator divorce and family law facilitated negotiations Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Family Law Arbitration Massachusetts alimony and child support how baseball arbitration works support orders Defense of Marriage Act Self-adjusting alimony orders Same Sex Marriage Massachusetts divorce mediators mediators med-arb Baseball Players DOMA Major League Baseball Arbitration mediator divorce process divorced General term alimony family law mediation divorce lawyers Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth alimony statute family mediation