Articles Posted in Estate & Probate Litigation

On Feb. 16, 2017, Kevin and Anita Crawford died in an automobile crash along with one of their children. The remaining two children were placed in the care of Anita’s parents. Anita’s father, Irwin Schmidt, was named the executor of their estate on April 10, 2017.

On Aug. 4, 2017, Wayne Crawford, Kevin’s father, filed a claim against both Kevin and Anita’s estate, alleging that they each jointly and severally owed him $223,529.55 for money they had borrowed from Crawford beginning in 2005. It was alleged that these loans were for groceries, utility bills and debt payments.

Crawford also claimed that he leased a vehicle for Kevin and Anita and paid it off after their deaths.

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A wrongful-death verdict that was vacated by a trial judge was affirmed on appeal by the Illinois Appellate Court. The jury’s verdict of $4.25 million was reached in a wrongful-death trial awarded to the family of a woman killed in a highway crash. But the trial judge vacated the verdict after it was revealed that the woman was married and that her parents and siblings were not her heirs under Illinois law. The judge would not let the woman’s husband file an amended complaint finding that he engaged in fraud with the woman’s family.

In an opinion that covered 107 pages written by Justice Robert E. Gordon, the panel found that the trial court was correct in vacating that verdict. But in a partial reversal, the panel will allow the woman’s husband to file an amended complaint.

The parents and eight siblings of 28-year-old Hawa Sissoko sued Alfred C. Baggiani and Roadway Express, the driver and owner of the semi-trailer that struck and killed Sissoko in 2007. She was standing behind her car in the right lane of the Indiana Toll Road outside Chesterton, Ind., when the accident occurred.

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