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

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