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Clark v. Foust-Graham

615 S.E.2d 398 (2005)

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Clark v. Foust-Graham

North Carolina Court of Appeals

615 S.E.2d 398 (2005)

Facts

Wesley Foust-Graham (defendant) and James Lester Goodwin married on April 12, 2002, when Foust-Graham was 40 years old and Goodwin was 80. Kelly Clark (plaintiff), Goodwin’s adult daughter, filed an action as Goodwin’s guardian ad litem to annul the marriage on the grounds of incompetency, lack of consent, undue influence, and impotence. After Goodwin died on October 23, 2003, Clark filed a motion to substitute herself as an executrix of Goodwin’s estate and beneficiary entitled to take under his will. The trial court permitted Clark to become an executrix of Goodwin’s estate but denied her motion to be substituted as a beneficiary to Goodwin’s will. At trial, Clark presented evidence and testimony that Goodwin was exhibiting signs of Stage II dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and that Goodwin would have gone along with Foust-Graham’s sexual advances. Foust-Graham presented evidence that Goodwin freely consented to marriage and she and Goodwin successfully engaged in sexual intercourse during the marriage. The jury found that Foust-Graham procured the marriage to Goodwin by exerting undue influence upon him. Foust-Graham appealed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McCullough, J.)

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