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Where party's attorney coerced him into settlement, but division of estate is not unconscionable, settlement agreement not set aside

The court held that the defendant-husband failed to establish grounds for setting aside the parties' settlement agreement as to the division of the marital estate. Further, the settlement was not on its face substantively unconscionable. However, the trial court did not err in denying the plaintiff-wife's motion for sanctions. The court concluded that the trial court did not clearly err in finding that the plaintiff's attorney's (D) letters and actions about an incident with the parties' small airplane did not coerce the defendant into settling. "The parties' airplane was a valuable marital asset," which was apparently under defendant's sole control. Because it was a marital asset, plaintiff "had the right to know whether and to what extent it might have been damaged, whether the marital estate had been exposed to any liability, and whether the estate had a viable insurance claim." She also had the right to know if defendant was using marital assets to repair the airplane. Thus, D "cannot be said to have overstepped the bounds of propriety when she asked for information and records about the crash in her letter" of 10/12. She also did not directly connect her request to turn over plaintiff's "jewels, furs, and paintings to the issue with the crash, but instead indicated that she would ask the trial court to decide the issue, which was entirely appropriate." The court held that the parties' record filings and D's letters did not establish that D - acting on plaintiff's behalf - "engaged in any illegal, manifestly unjust, or purposely oppressive conduct" that forced defendant to settle against his will. The court noted that since there was no evidence that plaintiff, through D, participated in any coercive conduct by defendant's attorney, even if defendant's attorney wrongfully coerced him to settle, "that coercion would not warrant setting aside the settlement agreement." The trial court also did not err in determining that the division of the marital estate was not unconscionable. "In order to obtain specific assets with sentimental or personal value, a reasonable person might be willing to settle for a smaller overall percentage of the estate." Also, while "there appeared to be a substantial difference in the value of the assets awarded to each party," even assuming that defendant's valuations were accurate, the difference was not so extreme that it shocked the conscience. "The fact that the parties waived the right to spousal support in their agreement also does not shock the conscience." Affirmed.

Construction contract arbitration award upheld

In this construction contract case, the trial court did not err by denying the plaintiffs' motion to vacate or modify the arbitration award and, thus, did not err by granting the defendants-lien claimants and defendant-contractor (Bosco) summary...

Antenuptial agreement held to be valid and enforceable

The court held that the parties' antenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable, concluding that to invalidate it on the basis of one party's fault would contravene the agreement's clear and unambiguous language, and that as a matter of law, the...

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