HOUSTON, August 9, 2010 – Kathy Patrick, a partner in Gibbs & Bruns, represents The John M. O’Quinn Foundation, the sole beneficiary under the will of the late, legendary trial lawyer John O’Quinn. On August 9th, Patrick and Gibbs & Bruns associate Laura Kissel won an important preliminary victory when the Honorable Mike Wood, Harris County Probate Court No. 2, denied a request for temporary injunction filed by Darla Lexington, O’Quinn’s companion. Lexington sought to enjoin the sale of five collectible cars belonging to O’Quinn’s Estate based on a claim that they were “gifts” to her by O’Quinn.
The ruling came after a full-day hearing on Friday, August 6th, in which Patrick cross-examined Lexington about her claims that O’Quinn had made undocumented gifts to her of cars worth millions of dollars. The Houston Chronicle noted that Patrick 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. After considering this and the other evidence adduced at the hearing, Judge Wood found that Lexington had not met her burden to establish a probable right to recover on her gift claim.
Patrick emphasized that Judge Wood’s ruling was “tremendously important” because Lexington “brought out her best evidence, and the court found it didn’t meet the standard to prove a gift.” Patrick also expects this ruling will expedite the liquidation of the remaining estate assets, in part because the court found that alleged out-of-court statements by O’Quinn were insufficient to overcome the clear documentary record that he held, and maintained, title to all of his assets, including his car collection.
Robert Wilson III, O’Quinn Foundation president, said he was “deeply gratified by the court’s ruling.” He continued, “John made clear that all of his property, including his car collection—was to go to his charitable Foundation.” Ultimately, the Foundation expects to receive several hundred million dollars as a result of O’Quinn’s bequest, including the proceeds from the sale of O’Quinn’s extensive collection of antique and collectible cars. The Foundation expects to continue the good works O’Quinn began in his lifetime, through the support of medical research, the care and healing of abused children, and other charitable purposes.
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“Judge Denies Woman’s Effort to Stop O’Quinn Car Sale”