We were retained by the John M. O’Quinn Foundation, the sole beneficiary under the will of the late, legendary trial lawyer John O’Quinn, to represent its interests in over $400 million of property devised to it under O’Quinn’s will. Darla Lexington, O’Quinn’s companion, claimed she was entitled to a substantial portion of O’Quinn’s Estate on several theories: (1) that she was O’Quinn’s common law wife; (2) that O’Quinn made undocumented gifts of cars, memorabilia, art and real property to her during his lifetime; and (3) O’Quinn and/or his law firm breached fiduciary duties owed to her. The Executor of O’Quinn’s Estate and Foundation disputed all of these claims and contended that O’Quinn was an unmarried man at his death, did not make the substantial “gifts” at issue to Lexington, and did not breach any fiduciary duty owed to Lexington.
In August 2010, we won an important preliminary victory when The Honorable Mike Wood denied a request for temporary injunction filed by Lexington. Lexington sought to enjoin the sale of five collectible cars, worth millions, belonging to O’Quinn’s Estate based on a claim that they were gifts from O’Quinn. The ruling came after a full-day hearing during which Lexington was cross-examined about her claims. We emphasized that O’Quinn retained the titles to the cars, stored them in his warehouses, and insured them on a policy naming himself as the sole beneficiary. Judge Wood found that Lexington had not met her burden to establish a probable right to recover on her gift claim.
In 2011, Lexington challenged the Foundation’s standing to participate as a party in the case and asked Judge Wood to dismiss the Foundation’s declaratory judgment claims. We successfully defeated Lexington’s motion in the trial court and her subsequent petitions for writ of mandamus to the First Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court.
On January 4, 2012, just days before the trial was to begin, the parties entered into a settlement agreement. The mutually agreeable settlement terms are confidential.
The Foundation expects to continue O’Quinn’s lifetime of good works through the support of medical research, the care and healing of abused children, and other charitable causes.