Moriarty v. Moriarty

150 N.E.3d 616 (2020)

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Moriarty v. Moriarty

Indiana Court of Appeals
150 N.E.3d 616 (2020)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Catherine Moriarty and Paula Bowers (plaintiffs) were the daughters of William and Doreen Moriarty. Catherine and Paula had a strong relationship with their parents and were heavily involved in their parents’ healthcare. Doreen predeceased William after a 58-year marriage, and William was subsequently diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF), anxiety, and depression. Mary Eve Kassen Moriarty (Eve) (defendant), who met William through her involvement with the grief ministry at William’s church, started dating William shortly after Doreen’s death. After William started dating Eve, he stopped regularly communicating with his daughters and cancelled a planned visit with Catherine. William did not tell Catherine and Paula that he was dating Eve. William and Eve married approximately six months later, but none of William’s family members or close friends were invited to the wedding. After the wedding, William barred Catherine and Paula from further involvement with his medical care, and Eve fired William’s long-time home healthcare aid. Over the next several months, William engaged in numerous, large, out-of-character financial transactions, all of which benefited Eve. Eve then arranged for William to execute a new will drafted by Eve’s attorney, Greg Cagnassola. Cagnassola did not meet with William until the will execution. The new will was executed in April 2017 and left all of Williams’ assets to Eve; William’s prior will had split his assets between Catherine and Paula. William died in May 2017. Catherine and Paula filed a petition for supervised administration of William’s estate, which was granted. Catherine and Paula then sued Eve, alleging that William’s April 2017 will was invalid because it was the product of Eve’s undue influence and that Eve had tortiously interfered with their inheritance. The trial court agreed and invalidated the April 2017 will. Eve appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Crone, J.)

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