A wealthy polo club owner, John Goodman, has adopted his 42 year old girlfriend in what is consider a legal maneuver to escape liability in accident that cost the life of 23 year-old college student.
Goodman adopted Heather Hutchins, who he started dating in 2009, in November of last year. Goodman is worth close to $700 million and his fortune has been put in trusts for his children. Some have speculated that he made this move to keep his fortune safe from an accident lawsuit. Accident attorneys who represent the families of people killed by a negligent driver can seek significant compensation.
West Palm Beach Judge Glenn Kelley said in a court order, “The Defendant has effectively diverted a significant proportion of the children’s trust to a person with whom he is intimately involved at a time when his personal assets are largely at risk in this case.
Goodman was driving his Bentley while drunk in February of 2009 when he ran a stop sign and struck the car of Scott Wilson. Wilson’s car plunged into a canal and sunk. Wilson, who was knocked unconscious, drowned. Goodman walked away from the scene. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
Wilson’s family filed a civil lawsuit against Goodman.
This is a quite an unusual case and most accident lawyers don’t face this sort of challenge when seeking compensation for accident victims or their families. Generally, when a person is found to be at fault, an accident attorney can sue them for negligence.