APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT
Jason Michael Griffin et al.; Debra Ann McGathey,
Petitioner-Appellee; Robert H. Griffin,
514 N.E.2d 31, 160 Ill. App. 3d 670, 112 Ill. Dec. 635 1987.IL.1368
Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. Patrick J. Fleming and the Hon. Richard A. Hudlin, Judges, presiding.
JUSTICE LEWIS* delivered the opinion of the court. HARRISON and WELCH, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LEWIS
Jason Michael Griffin, age six, died intestate on July 22, 1985. The deceased child had been the subject of a contested adoption brought by his mother, Debra Ann McGathey (petitioner-appellee), and her second husband, Boyd H. McGathey. In the adoption proceeding, the trial court entered an order terminating the parental rights of the child's natural father, Robert H. Griffin (respondent-appellant), after finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent was an unfit parent. Before the adoption was completed, the child died leaving an estate of approximately $3,900,000, which represented a settlement for injuries the child sustained at birth. On the basis of the interim order in the adoption case, the trial court sitting in probate entered an order finding that the respondent was not an heir of the deceased child. The respondent has appealed both the interim order in the adoption case and the order finding heirship.
The instant case is a consolidation of four cases heard in the trial court of St. Clair County. Upon consolidation, the trial court assigned a new docket number of 85 -- P -- 747 to the consolidated file. For purposes of this opinion, these cases will be referred to by their original docket numbers, which were retained as separate parts of the consolidated file. These cases are as follows:
(1) Estate of Jason Michael Griffin, a minor, No. 81 -- P -- 798.
This is the ongoing guardianship file of the minor during his lifetime. In this cause a settlement of the ...