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Marriage of Rossi

Court of Appeals of California
108 Cal. Rptr. 2d 270 (2001)


Facts

Denise Rossi (plaintiff) and Thomas Rossi (defendant) were husband and wife in December 1996 when Denise was a winner in a lottery pool. Prior to receiving her first lottery check, Denise had filed for divorce. Denise had her lottery winnings sent to her mother’s home and did not inform Thomas at any point of her winnings. In 1999, Thomas received a letter addressed to Denise offering a lump-sum buyout of her lottery winnings. Thomas filed a motion to set aside the previous divorce decree and requested an award of 100 percent of the lottery winnings as a community asset that was fraudulently concealed under California Family Code § 1101. Denise opposed Thomas’s motion on the grounds that Thomas had unclean hands as a physically and emotionally abusive spouse. The trial court awarded Thomas 100 percent of the lottery winnings. Denise appealed the trial court’s decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Epstein, J.)

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