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Ex-lawyer who murdered his wife loses standing bid to dismiss estate's wrongful death suit

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A former lawyer convicted of murdering his wife can’t argue that his status as surviving spouse protects him from a wrongful death suit by the estate, a Georgia appeals court has ruled.

Claud “Tex” McIver had argued that only he can represent the estate, and that means a wrongful death suit filed by the estate administrator must be tossed for lack of standing. The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled against McIver in a decision Wednesday, Law360 reports.

The appeals court said McIver can’t be deemed a surviving spouse who has the right to sue for wrongful death. McIver’s argument ignores the fact that he caused his wife’s death, and the law doesn’t authorize a surviving spouse to benefit from his own wrong, the court said.

The court noted that McIver’s wife had no children, and the wrongful death statute allows the estate administrator to sue when no one else is entitled to do so.

McIver, a former partner at Fisher & Phillips, has maintained that he accidentally shot his wife, Diane, in September 2016. He was sitting in the back of an SUV being driven by a friend, and his wife was in the passenger seat when McIver fired the gun that he was holding.

McIver claimed that he had the gun for protection, and he pulled the trigger while falling asleep; prosecutors claimed that he had a financial motive for killing his wealthy wife. Jurors convicted McIver of felony murder in April 2018.

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