Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Claim For Interference With Inheritance Lies Against Legion of Christ

In Americans United For Life v. Legion of Christ of North America, Inc., (RI Super., Jan. 4, 2017), a Rhode Island trial court held that a claim of tortious interference with expectation of inheritance is cognizable under Rhode Island law.  At issue is a claim by an anti-abortion organization that Legion of Christ through fraud and undue influence induced Gabrielle Mee, a devout Catholic, to change her will to divert to Legion of Christ the 10% of her estate (equaling as much as $6 million) originally left to the pro-life group.  Her will already left 90% to Legion of Christ, and plaintiffs claim that had Ms. Mee learned of the charges of sexual abuse that surfaced as to Father Marcial Maciel Delgollado, the founder and former leader of Legion of Christ, she might well have completely cut them out of her will.  While allowing the tortious interference claim to move ahead, the court dismissed separate claims based on fraud and undue influence. AP reports on the decision. (See prior related posting.)