Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Spellman v. Boland

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

July 7, 2016

James David Spellman, Appellant,
v.
Joseph Boland, Personal Representative of the Estate of Michael Joseph Kelly, Appellee.

          Argued May 5, 2016

         On Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (DRB-2765-13) (Hon. Judith A. Smith, Trial Judge) (

          Ugo Colella for appellant.

          Darryl A. Feldman, with whom Rebecca C. Shankman was on the brief, for appellee.

          BEFORE: Blackburne-Rigsby, Easterly, and McLeese; Associate Judges.

         JUDGMENT

         This case came to be heard on the transcript of record and the briefs filed, and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof, and for the reasons set forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby

         ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the judgment of the Superior Court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

          OPINION

          ROY W. MCLEESE, JUDGE.

         Appellant James David Spellman filed a petition in Superior Court seeking a declaration affirming the existence of a common-law marriage between Mr. Spellman and his late partner, Michael Joseph Kelly. Mr. Spellman appeals from the trial court's order dismissing the petition for lack of personal jurisdiction over appellee Joseph Boland, in his capacity as personal representative of Mr. Kelly's estate. We conclude that the Superior Court has personal jurisdiction over Mr. Boland. We therefore reverse and remand for further proceedings.

         I.

         Although there are factual disputes between the parties as to Mr. Kelly's connections to the District of Columbia, the trial court found the following facts that appear to be undisputed in this court. In the fall of 1993, Mr. Spellman and Mr. Kelly, who both lived in the District, met and began dating. In 1998, the two decided to live together and to hold themselves out as partners. Although Mr. Spellman and Mr. Kelly primarily resided at Mr. Spellman's residence in the District, Mr. Kelly also owned a home in Delaware, where he and Mr. Spellman stayed on the weekends and during the summer. Mr. Kelly worked in the District until 2006, when he retired and began spending more of his time at his Delaware home. After 2006, Mr. Kelly did some consulting work in the District for several years, and he continued to travel to the District and to spend time there with Mr. Spellman. Throughout the period from 1998 to 2013, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Spellman co-hosted social events in the District, sent joint holiday cards from Mr. Spellman's address in the District, and attended book clubs, the opera, and the theater together in the District. Mr. Kelly was diagnosed with cancer in December 2012 and passed away two months later.

         Mr. Boland, Mr. Kelly's brother-in-law, filed a petition in Delaware to probate Mr. Kelly's estate. Mr. Boland was appointed personal representative of the estate. Once the probate matter was opened, Mr. Spellman filed a claim for a spousal allowance. Mr. Boland rejected Mr. Spellman's claim on the ground that there was no documentation of a marriage between Mr. Spellman and Mr. Kelly that would be recognized under Delaware law. Mr. Spellman filed a petition in the District seeking a declaration that he and Mr. Kelly had entered into a common-law marriage. Mr. Boland filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. In opposition, Mr. Spellman argued that the trial court had personal jurisdiction under a number of provisions, including D.C. Code § 13-423 (a)(7)(E) (2012 Repl.), which gives the Superior Court personal jurisdiction with respect to claims for relief arising from a person's "marital . . . relationship in the District of Columbia, " as long as "there is any basis consistent with the United States Constitution for the exercise of personal jurisdiction." The trial court held an evidentiary hearing on the motion. At the hearing, somewhat conflicting evidence was ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.