A cab driver who was bestowed an entire estate by its owner is now confronting a huge court bill as the will of the deceased has been ruled invalid by a court.
Dean Hughes, 34, a cab driver in Eastbourne, was the only taxi driver who would take Gary Mendez to the pub because other drivers always refused a ride to the 25-stone man due to his excessive weight.
In reward to Hughes’ respectful behavior, the 57-year old granted him ‘everything’ he possessed, reported The Mirror.
Mendez owned a house worth $203,000 (£160,000) that he shared with his civil partner Hermes Rodrigues.
A few months before he died, Mendez left all his property to Hughes by signing a will while sitting in a Wetherspoon pub.
However, Rodrigues challenged the will in court as the deceased had already named the house after him in another will signed three years before his death.
The costly and bitter legal fight ended in a defeat for Hughes as Mendez’s recent will was declared invalid by a judge.
As if it wasn’t enough, Hughes – a father of four – was ordered to pay 85 percent of the legal bill which will cost him over $63,000 (£50,000).
Judge David Turner settled the case by declaring that Mendez was drunk at the time he signed the testament, and he was also in a poor health condition.
So the agreement which was signed in February 2016 in the George Hotel, Hailsham is not valid.
The judge said: “I have great doubts whether Gary had a proper understanding of the contents and effect of the 2016 will. It must be likely that the pint on the table was not his first drink of the day.”
The deceased first met his civil partner in 2001 in a cruise ship, where Rodrigues was working as a steward.
Rodrigues left the ship in 2012 and moved to England to live with Mendez in his Tollgate Gardens house. He claimed he ‘had fallen in love’ with his partner because he was a ‘very generous and caring man.’
He further revealed how he cared for Mendez when his health deteriorated due to obesity and alcohol consumption.
Mendez left his house to Rodrigues in a will three years before he died.
Speaking in the Central London County Court, Rodrigues said: “He told me that it would always be my home whatever happened, even if our relationship broke down.
“I thought we would be together for a very long time. It never occurred to me that he would be gone at such a young age.”
Rodrigues argued that Mendez’s alcohol consumption and poor medical condition made him incapable to realize what he was doing when he signed the will at the pub.
Hughes claimed Mendez wasn’t drunk but later admitted that he did consume a pint of bitter.
The judge said while giving his verdict: “He had ultimately to accept that alcohol had been purchased, and was on the table, before the 2016 will was signed.
“In my judgment, Gary, by this time, no longer had a balanced view of the claims to which he ought to give effect, and in particular had lost sight of his previous promise to leave the house to Hermes.”
The judge also acknowledged that Mendez was not forced by Hughes to sign the will, and he did so just because he was drunk and unable to grasp the outcome of the situation.
The house was finally awarded to Rodrigues, and Hughes was ordered to pay 85% of the legal fees, which will likely be around $63,000 (£50,000).