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Succession of Gore

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

May 31, 2017

SUCCESSION OF CLAUDETTE BARILLEAUX GORE

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 737-971, DIVISION "L" HONORABLE DONALD A. ROWAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, DARLENE GORE BREMERMAN & TAMMY GORE Samuel S. Dalton, Remy V. Starns, Adam Whitley-Sebti.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, SUCCESSION OF CLAUDETTE GORE, JOANN CHATELAIN, DULY APPOINTED ADMINISTRATRIX AND ROBERT M. GORE, JR. Michelle M. Davis, Mark G. Duncan.

          Panel composed of Robert A. Chaisson, Robert M. Murphy, and Hans J. Liljeberg

         AFFIRMED AS AMENDED

         RAC

         RMM

         HJL

          ROBERT A. CHAISSON JUDGE.

         Darlene Gore Bremermann and Tammy Gore appeal an amended judgment of the trial court which recognized their brother, Robert Mack Gore, Jr., as a son and legitimate heir of their mother, Claudette Barilleaux Gore. For the following reasons, we amend the judgment of the trial court and affirm that judgment as amended.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Robert Mack Gore, Jr. ("Robert, Jr.") was born on March 10, 1970, at Sara Mayo Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. The birth certificate filed on March 20, 1970, lists Robert Mack Gore, Sr. ("Robert, Sr.") as his father, and Claudette Barilleaux Gore as his mother. Robert, Jr. was raised in the Gore household with two sisters, Darlene and Tammy, Claudette's biological daughters from a previous marriage, who were adopted by Robert, Sr. upon his marriage to Claudette. Robert, Sr. and Claudette always held Robert, Jr. out to the world as their biological child. However, according to Robert, Jr., on his eighteenth birthday he was told by his parents that he was not their biological child, but rather the biological child of Robert, Sr.'s sister, Donna Boren, and that Robert, Sr. and Claudette had agreed to adopt and raise him as their own child. Until this revelation, Robert, Jr. had no indication that he may not be the biological child of Robert, Sr. and Claudette, and he had no knowledge of the alleged alternative circumstances of his birth. Likewise, according to Darlene, Robert, Jr.'s sisters had no knowledge that he may have been adopted until their parents revealed this information to them when they were adults. Following this revelation, the filial relationship of Robert, Jr. to his parents continued until the deaths of Robert, Sr. and Claudette.

         Robert, Sr. died intestate on January 30, 1994. Shortly thereafter, in April of 1994, Claudette, Darlene, Tammy, and Robert, Jr. jointly filed a Petition for Possession and an Affidavit of Death and Heirship in Robert, Sr.'s succession, wherein the parties recognized Claudette as Robert, Sr.'s surviving spouse and Darlene, Tammy, and Robert, Jr. as his only children and heirs. The Affidavit of Death and Heirship, executed by Claudette and Robert, Jr., alleged that all three children were adopted by Robert, Sr. At that time, no one disputed Robert, Jr.'s status as an heir of Robert, Sr., nor did anyone challenge the allegation that he is the adopted son of Robert, Sr. After obtaining a Judgment of Possession for Robert, Sr.'s succession, the three children executed a donation inter vivos whereby they donated their rights, title and interest in Robert, Sr.'s property to their mother, Claudette.

         Claudette, who never remarried, died intestate on March 8, 2013. On May 1, 2014, Robert, Jr. filed a Petition for the Appointment of Succession Administrator, which stated that he, Darlene, and Tammy are the sole heirs of Claudette, and alleged that Darlene and Tammy were converting Claudette's assets and funds, living in her home, and refusing to communicate with Robert, Jr. or allow him access to the home to recover his personal property. He also requested that Joann Chatelain, Claudette's sister-in-law, be appointed administratrix of the ...


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