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Client Wins Multimillion Dollar Jury Verdict in Will Contest Action


Date:  August 3, 2016
Re:     Client Wins Multimillion Dollar Jury Verdict in Will Contest Action

R. Peyton Mahaffey and Lawrence J. McClafferty of McCandlish Lillard teamed with David Hudgins and Debra Stafford of Alexandria to win a recent will contest action in the Arlington County Circuit Court. The trial spanned 13 days over a four-week period. The jury rejected the clandestine efforts of the client’s father’s long time bookkeeper to probate a will she prepared and which was purportedly executed only months before his death. Instead the jury entered a verdict of over $7,600,000 for fraud, conversion and breach of fiduciary duty, and tacked on $175,000 in punitive damages. The client and his father had an estate plan that provided for the client to receive the family money upon the father’s death.

The evidence showed that during the father’s declining years, defendant began to take advantage of the father and isolate him from friends and family.  In addition to finding the later will to have been procured by undue influence, the jury further found that the defendant carried out a scheme to convert and divert family money from a myriad of bank accounts belonging in various forms to father and son.

Two Final Orders, one granting the client’s Motion to Probate the true last will and testament of his father and the other denying Defendant’s Motion to Probate the later will and entering Judgment in the amount just over $7,6000,000 plus $175,000 in punitive damages, were entered by Arlington County Circuit Court Judge Daniel S. Fiore, II on July 22, 2016.

(2016) Chris T. Sarris v. Mireille Curro, et al., Arlington County Circuit Court, Case No. CL 14-1945-00. 


McCandlish Lillard has 22 attorneys, with offices in Fairfax and Leesburg. The law firm has been meeting the legal needs of businesses and individuals in Northern Virginia and throughout the Commonwealth for more than 100 years. For more information regarding McCandlish Lillard or the above matter, please call Peyton Mahaffey at 703-934-1168, or the firm at 703-273-2288, or visit its website at

Any prior case results discussed or cited on this website do not guarantee or predict the same or a similar outcome in your case or any other future cases. Each case or legal issue is different, and the outcome of each case depends on a variety of factors that are unique to that case or matter.