(CN) – Richard Pryor’s daughter lost her bid to have the late comedian’s remarriage to his fifth wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor, annulled. A California appeals court said Elizabeth Pryor lacks standing to claim the remarriage was a fraud.
Elizabeth Pryor is one of Richard Pryor’s children from an earlier marriage. Richard was married to Jennifer Lee in 1981, but the couple divorced the following year.
However, Richard and Jennifer secretly remarried in 2001, and they remained wed until the comedian died of a heart attack in 2005.
Elizabeth learned about the remarriage after her father’s death. She sued to annul the marriage on the grounds of fraud.
The trial court ruled that she lacked standing to challenge the remarriage, a ruling affirmed by the Los Angeles-based Second District Court of Appeal.
“Only a defrauded spouse may institute an action for annulment based on fraud, within four years of the discovery of the fraud,” Justice Epstein wrote.
Elizabeth suffered a second legal defeat on the same day in the same court. This time, she sought to void a series of gifts that Richard gave Jennifer between 1994 and 2005.
Elizabeth argued that Jennifer’s status as her father’s care custodian, which began in 1994, makes her ineligible to receive the gifts, notwithstanding the couple’s secret remarriage.
The appeals court again ruled in Jennifer’s favor, explaining that Elizabeth should have raised the gift claim earlier.
Justice Epstein rejected Elizabeth’s argument that care custodians who later marry their charges must prove that transfers are not the results of undue influence.
“The risks that a family member may exercise undue influence on an elder or dependent adult are well-known,” Epstein wrote. “The Legislature has addressed the policy alternatives by choosing not to create an exception for the circumstances presented here.”
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