All's fair in love and wills?
John O'Quinn's longtime lover walks away with some world-class cars as courtbattle avoided
Darla Lexington and John O'Quinn never put a ring on it, but she will still receive a portion of the late lawyer's estate.
Lexington and lawyers for O'Quinn's estate reached an agreement at a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday. Neither side is disclosing terms of the deal but it's possible she will receive a few cars remaining from O'Quinn's world-class car collection.
Lexington was O'Quinn's companion for more then a decade, but though the couple lived together in O'Quinn's River Oaks mansion, they never married.
The settlement will prevent a drawn-out trial. Lexington previously attempted to halt the sale of 31 rare cars from O'Quinn's collection.
“I am pleased on behalf of John, and I’m pleased for Darla and the foundation. I’ve always hoped we’d be able to resolve this,” T. Gerald Treece, O'Quinn's friend and executor, said in a statement.
After O'Quinn's death in a car accident in 2009, Lexington was the beneficiary of his life insurance policy but was not named in his will, which left everything to his charitable foundation. She challenged the will by claiming she was entitled to consideration as O'Quinn's common law spouse.
The settlement will prevent a drawn-out trial. In August 2010, Lexington attempted to halt the sale of 31 rare cars from O'Quinn's collection by the estate, arguing that they were gifts for her. Without the titles in her name, a probate judge ruled she had no valid claim to the vehicles based on the terms of the will.
“This settlement clears the way for a distribution from the estate that will allow the foundation to support even more good works,” said Kathy Patrick, attorney for The John M. O'Quinn Foundation, which supports initiatives that promote health care, mental health, children and education. The foundation paid out a total of almost $3 million in 2011.