After a Hard-Fought Trial, Ansell.Law’s Lawrence H. Shapiro and Kelsey M. Barber Obtain $389,000 Judgment for Stepdad After Stepson Falsely Claimed Money Was a Gift, Not a Loan as Agreed.

When a stepson attempted to take advantage of his loving stepfather’s generosity by claiming that a $389,000 loan was actually a gift he did not have to repay, Lawrence H. Shapiro and Kelsey M. Barber of the Firm’s Litigation Department successfully vindicated the stepdad, obtaining a judgment in his favor for the entire loan amount, plus interest. 

The heated dispute arose after the stepdad and his wife decided to downsize and sell the family home, where the adult stepson and his college student brother lived. As the stepson and his brother needed a new place to live, the stepdad kindly offered the stepson $389,000 to purchase a townhome. 

At all times, the stepfather intended the money to be a loan, an arrangement that was repeatedly acknowledged by the stepson in contemporaneous emails and text messages in which he discussed repayment plans, asked for forbearance when money was tight, and offered to forward rent payments his brother was making to pay for his share of the townhome. Notwithstanding the clear agreement and understanding of the parties, the stepson refused to sign a note and mortgage at the closing of the townhome. 

The suit came about after the stepfather and mother got divorced. The stepson used the end of their marriage as an excuse to renege on his obligations by claiming the loan was, in fact, a gift.

During the two-day trial, the Ansell team was able to conclusively demonstrate that the money was a loan through the contemporaneous documentation and by completely undermining the stepson’s credibility as a witness. Accordingly, the Court entered an Order for Judgment in favor of the stepfather for the full loan amount plus interest.