Trials & Litigation

Millionaire convicted of murder is sued again to keep $13.5M unpaid judgment alive

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In a lawsuit filed this week in Palm Beach County, Fla., the parents of a woman killed in Atlanta more than two decades ago have sued her millionaire ex-husband in an effort to keep a prior $4 million civil judgment alive.

With interest, the judgment against James Sullivan has ballooned to $13.5 million. But, because it was awarded 20 years ago, it would have expired had lawyers for the victim’s parents not filed the new lawsuit, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Initially found civilly liable by a Palm Beach jury for the contract slaying of his estranged wife, Sullivan was subsequently criminally convicted in 2006 in what the Post calls “one of the most salacious, tortured and long-running murder cases in Palm Beach County history,” and is now serving a life prison term in Georgia.

Florida lawyer J. Brad Moores and Georgia attorney David Boone are representing the estate of the slain woman, Lita Sullivan. They told the Post that they credit the original civil wrongful death suit for James Sullivan being criminally tried for the murder, saying that the civil suit flushed out key witnesses later used to convict him.

They say they hope to collect from Swiss bank accounts in which they believe Sullivan has funds.

“We have a judgment. We have not been made whole. It’s pretty simple,” Boone told the newspaper.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. to adjust the lead sentence and to add a quote from the Palm Beach post.

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