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Nov 8, 2015 12:14 PM

Lawyers in Portsmouth inheritance case want the city to pay part of their legal fees

NH1.com

PORTSMOUTH — The city is being asked to pay $360,000 to the lawyers who overturned police Sgt. Aaron Goodwin's $2 million inheritance.

According to seacoastonline.com, the money represents a portion of what the city is slated to get from the estate of Geraldine Webber.

"It is only fair that the city of Portsmouth share in the fees incurred to set aside (Webber's) 2012 estate planning documents procured through the undue influence of one of its own," lawyer David Eby wrote in a motion filed with the Strafford County probate court.

Other named beneficiaries, namely Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and The Shriner's Hospitals for Children financed the probate case and now want the city to share some of the costs.

Eby has asked Judge Gary Cassavechia to order that Portsmouth pay half of his $500,000 attorneys’ fees, incurred to win a probate case that also benefited Portsmouth. Attorney Paul McEachern is seeking $110,000 in lawyer's fees from the city's inheritance for his work on the same case.

Because Portsmouth did not incur any outside attorneys fees related to the case, Eby argues, "its net bequest will far outweigh the net bequests to the hospitals."

"The result is unfair and inequitable - even more so because it was detective Aaron Goodwin, an officer of the city of Portsmouth Police Department, that this court found to have unduly influenced Ms. Webber," Eby argues.

City attorney Robert Sullivan said Friday that he plans to object to both lawyers' requests.

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