DENVER (CN) - A woman whose sister-in-law accused her of "murder, fraud, theft, and misuse of police authority" cannot gain extra damages from a defamation lawsuit, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled.
Even before Donald Vickery died, his wife was at odds with his sister. They argued over his medical care, his property and the sister's right to see him.
After Vickery passed away, sister Merry Vickery accused wife Monica Vickery of illegally claiming some of her brother's property.
Merry also accused Monica of presenting a forged codicil to Donald's will that changed the disposition of Donald's oil and gas properties from his sister to his wife.
Merry sent letters to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, American Express, Colorado Attorney General and other entities accusing Monica of several crimes.
She also wrote to the companies that managed the oil and gas interests that Monica was under investigation by the Denver District Attorney, Internal Revenue Service and Federal Trade Commission.
Monica successfully sued Merry for malicious prosecution for challenging the codicil to the will, winning a judgment of $69,000.
Monica also won a judgment for nine counts of defamation for $147,000.
She appealed, claiming she was entitled to more exemplary damages.
The trial court did not agree that she was entitled to pre-judgment interest, and neither did Judge Alan Loeb.
"To accept plaintiff's contention here would effectively negate the (Colorado) Supreme Court's unequivocal holdings ... that prejudgment interest may not be awarded on exemplary damages."
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