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United States v. Morales

United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
36 F. Supp. 3d 1276 (2014)


Facts

As part of their 1990 divorce settlement, John Palfrey conveyed his interest in real property to "Linda M. Palfrey." The former Mrs. Palfrey later married Luis Morales (defendant), and in a 2007 deed, "Linda M. (Palfrey) Morales" conveyed the property to "Linda M. Morales and Luis Enrique Morales." The 2007 deed was signed by "Linda Marie Morales." In 2012, following Luis Morales' conviction on several felony charges, the United States government (plaintiff) obtained a federal district court order preliminarily awarding a half share of the property's ownership to the government. Linda Morales opposed the award, arguing: (1) that she never intended to convey any interest in the property to Luis Morales, and (2) that although Linda Morales, Linda M. Palfrey, Linda M. (Palfrey) Morales, Linda M. Morales, and Linda Marie Morales were one and the same person, the differences between the names used in the 1990 and 2007 deeds invalidated the 2007 deed and deprived Luis Morales of any property interest he might otherwise have received in 2007. The court referred the matter to a magistrate judge, who recommended finalizing the award in favor of the government.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dalton, J.)

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