High court upholds verdict in $1 million Floyd will case

INEZ – The Supreme Court declined to review a Court of Appeals opinion which had affirmed a 9-3 jury verdict in the matter of what many court house observers called a “text-book” 3-day trial held last year in the Inez courthouse for a case involving a million dollar estate which had been transferred from Floyd County following a mis-trial there.

John Kirk, who represented Vicki Bryant, and Ned Pillersdorf, who represented seven other parties in the matter of the will of Shirley Mae Reynolds, a wealthy Prestonsburg business woman, presented a total of 13 witnesses in a three-day trial before a packed house who had come to watch two of the more famous lawyers in this part of the state do legal battle.

When the smoke had cleared in the courtroom of visiting Floyd Circuit Judge, John David Caudill, Kirk and Bryant had carried the day, but only by a 9-3 margin. Shortly after the verdict, Pillersdorf appealed to the Court of Appeals, but that court also decided with Kirk’s client, as did the Supreme Court which yesterday denied a motion for review, leaving in tact the original jury verdict, which found that a document offered by Bryant as the Last Will and Testament of Shirley Mae Reynolds was indeed authentic.

Reynolds, a wealthy merchant and land owner, left her estate exceeding $1 million to Vicki Bryant. Reynolds was a widow without children. Bryant, Reynolds’s sister and 26 years younger, had been raised by Reynolds.

The civil action against Bryant and against the will had been brought by the other 6 siblings of Reynolds who claimed that the will was a forgery.

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