Palimony: Thought palimony was dead after Marvin v. Marvin? Well, guess again!!

In Est. Of Bernard Shapiro, 2011-1, USTC ¶60,614 (9th Cir. 2011), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that under Nevada law, where two unmarried people co-habit, one member of this group can sue the other for the reasonable value of services.  The facts briefly in Shapiro were as follows: Bernard Shapiro and Cora Jane Chenchark lived together in Nevada for twenty-two years, but never married. During this 22 years period of time, Chenchark cleaned, cooked and managed their household.  When they broke up, Chenchark filed a palimony lawsuit claiming a breach of express and implied contract, breach of fiduciary duty and quantum meruit for the reasonable value for her services. While Chenchark’s law suit was pending, Shapiro died and his estate reached a settlement with her for approximately $1,000,000 which the estate sought to deduct as a claim against the estate. The 9th Circuit held that love, support, and management of a household can constitute consideration for a promise to share property under Nevada law citing a 1984 case. Thus, the payments Mr. Shapiro’s estate made to settle palimony suit were allowed as a deduction for estate tax purposes.  

The motto of Shapiro is unmarried people should not move to Nevada unless they want to face a claim for palimony.  Continue reading

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