Chandler v. Central Oil Corporation, Inc.
Kansas Supreme Court
853 P.2d 649 (1993)
Fred R. Chandler, Sr., was shot and killed while working at a gas station owned by Central Oil Corporation (defendant). During his life, Fred married three women. Fred married his first wife, Noletta, in 1964, and the couple divorced in 1973. Prior to the divorce from Noletta, Fred cohabitated with Eliza (plaintiff), whom he then married in 1972. Fred and Eliza continued to cohabitate after his divorce from Noletta was finalized. Then, Fred married his third wife, Mary (defendant), in 1985 and cohabitated with her until his death in 1988. After Fred’s death, both Mary and Eliza claimed to be his surviving spouse for the purpose of claiming his workers’-compensation benefits. The administrative-law judge (ALJ) awarded the benefits to Eliza, finding that Eliza and Fred entered into a common-law marriage after his divorce from Noletta and that, because Fred and Eliza never divorced, Fred’s marriage to Mary was void. The district court affirmed. Mary appealed to the court of appeals, which reversed the district court, holding that Fred’s subsequent marriage to Mary had the presumption of validity and remanding the case to the district court to afford Eliza the opportunity to rebut the presumption. Eliza appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lockett, J.)
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