The longtime live-in partner of a wealthy Jersey Shore mattress magnate will not be allowed to share in any portion of his estate, despite allegedly saying he would provide for her in the event of his death, a New Jersey appeals court ruled.
In an unpublished opinion Nov. 17, a two-judge Appellate Division panel said Barbara Terranova had no claim to any of the assets of Stuart Paer.
In short, Judges Carmen Alvarez and Greta Gooden Brown said that, since there was no written palimony agreement stating that Paer would take care of Terranova’s future, she could not state a claim.
The ruling described Paer as a “retail mattress tycoon,” but did not detail the size of his estate. The lawyers representing Terranova and Paer’s daughters—who are challenging Terranova’s demands for a share of Paer’s estate—did not return calls seeking more information.
Terranova and Paer were involved in a relationship from 1996 to 2011, the ruling said.
“Over the course of the couple’s 15-year relationship, they worked together, lived together, traveled together, and existed as a family unit,” the appeals court said. “They held themselves out to the world as husband and wife.”
The suit claims that Paer promised that he would provide for Terranova financially. However, the appeals court noted that the promise was never put in writing, as required by a 2010 law enacted by the Legislature and affirmed by the state Supreme Court in its 2014 ruling, Maeker v. Ross.
In his will, Paer named his two daughters, Natasha and Alyssa Paer, as his sole beneficiaries, even though the ruling said Terranova acted as their mother.
The daughters are fighting Terranova’s challenge to a trial judge’s ruling that she has no claim to Stuart Paer’s estate.
The appeals court noted that the lawsuit must also be subject to the doctrine of finality, especially since it has been pending for nearly seven years.
“To rule otherwise would severely and unfairly prejudice defendants,” the judges said.
Angelo Sarno of Roseland’s Snyder Sarno D’Aniello Maceri & da Costa represented Terranova. Matthew Fiorovanti of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla in Red Bank represented Paer’s estate.