50 F. 347 (D.Colo. 1892), Daniels v. Benedict

Citation:50 F. 347
Party Name:DANIELS v. BENEDICT et al.
Case Date:May 17, 1892
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Page 347

50 F. 347 (D.Colo. 1892)




United States Circuit Court, D. Colorado.

May 17, 1892

Page 348

         Statement by PARKER, District Judge:

         In Equity. The plaintiff in this case, Lilyan B. Daniels, as the wife of William B. Daniels, deceased, brings this suit in equity, by her bill filed, to have a partition of a large estate, alleged to be worth as much as $2,000,000. She alleges she was married to William B. Daniels on July 8, 1882, in the state of Connecticut; that they lived and cohabited together as husband and wife in the city of Denver; that William B. Daniels died in the city of Denver on the 24th of December, 1890, seised and possessed of the large amount of personal and real property described in the bill. Plaintiff further alleges that on March 2, 1891, the defendants, Mitchell Benedict, William G. Fisher, and Lewis C. Ellsworth, caused to be presented for probate the will of the said husband of plaintiff; that defendants conspired to prevent plaintiff from receiving anything from the estate of said husband. Plaintiff asks a partition of said estate. Plaintiff further alleges in her bill that--

         Some time before the 1st of March, 1886, the said William B. Daniels had arbitrarily and wrongfully refused longer to live or cohabit with the plaintiff, and had expelled and excluded her from his and her residence and home in the city of Denver, and had from such time thereafter refused and neglected to maintain or support her, or to furnish any means whatever for her maintenance or support, so that being, through the power and influence of her said husband, deprived of friends in the city of Denver, and being without money, she was compelled to leave said city of Denver, and to find a hom and friends and assistance elsewhere; that thereupon she removed temporarily to the city of Cheyenne, in the then territory, but not state, of Wyoming; that, while residing at said city of Cheyenne, she became severely and dangerously ill, among strangers, and without money; that her mind, as well as her body, had become greatly impaired, and at times she was wholly bereft of reason and consciousness, and at all times during her said illness, when not wholly unconscious and mentally irresponsible, she was only partially able to think or act, and was at all of said times unable to act intelligently or advisedly; that, while so ill and in such condition, she was approached and surrounded by the agents, employes, and emissaries of the said William B. Daniels, and a settlement of her domestic troubles and difficulties with the said Daniels was proposed by the agents, emissaries, and confederates procured and paid by the said Daniels; that, while in the condition before mentioned, it was represented to and urged upon her that her said husband, the said William B. Daniels, would never live or cohabit with her again; that he would not support her, or furnish means for her support; that he had become thoroughly estranged; that he would use his great wealth and his influence in the city of Denver to cause her to be ostracized and practically driven and banished from the said city of Denver, and that she would be unable to assert or recover her marital rights except by long, tedious, and expensive litigation; that pending such litigation she would have no means of support; and that, for all of said reasons, it would be better and wiser for her to accept terms from her said husband, and that he was anxious to procure a divorce.

Page 349

         The plaintiff further states that the person who made such representations and arguments pretended to be a friend to her, and pretended to be greatly shocked and indignant at the conduct of the said William B. Daniels; that she fully confided in said person, and believed that he truly was what he pretended to be, and, so believing, put full faith and confidence in him; and that she thereupon authorized and caused said person to open negotiations with her said husband, or his attorneys, for the purpose of effecting some kind of a settlement or adjustment between them.

         The plaintiff further states that on or about the 1st day of March, 1886, while she was still ill in body and in mind, and unable to attend to business, and while in great distress, mental as well as physical, as before stated, the said person reported to the plaintiff that the said William B. Daniels desired to be freed from the bond of matrimony then existing between him and the plaintiff, and the said person, for the purpose of procuring the consent of the plaintiff, represented to her that a suit might be commenced in one of the courts of the state of Colorado by the said William B. Daniels, as plaintiff, against her as defendant, on the ground that she (the plaintiff) had abandoned and deserted the said William B. Daniels, and that if such charge were not denied, and said suit were not defended, he, the said William B. Daniels, could and would procure a divorce upon the said ground of desertion and abandonment; and that for the purpose of procuring the assent of the plaintiff to said arrangement the said Daniels offered to pay to her a sum of money sufficient to meet her then pressing wants and necessities, and to make her for a time free from financial embarrassment, but which sum so offered was wholly out of proportion to the ability of said Daniels to pay, and wholly insufficient to enable the plaintiff to keep and maintain herself in the station of life to which she had been accustomed, or commensurate with her position and standing as the wife of the said William B. Daniels. The plaintiff, being, as before stated, in great distress, bodily and mentally, being thereto advised and urged by said person, whom she still implicity trusted, and being then dependent upon strangers, consented and agreed that a suit might be commenced against her in one of the courts of the state of Colorado for the purpose of enabling the said William B. Daniels to procure a decree of divorce upon the ground of desertion, and abandonment, as before stated, but...

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