Billionaire, 48, Adopts Girlfriend, 42, as Daughter
Goodman, 48, founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, faces a civil trial in the death of 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson. Police say Goodman was drunk at the wheel of his Bentley when it ran a stop sign and slammed into Wilson's car in 2010.
Attorneys for Wilson's parents, who are suing the billionaire, speculate the adoption may be designed to protect Goodman's children's trust, estimated to be worth "several hundred million dollars."
The judge has ruled the trust is off-limits in the lawsuit. As his legal child, Hutchins would be entitled to a third of the beneficiary interest in the trust.
"Plaintiffs view the adoption of Ms. Hutchins as a 'game-changer,' and as grounds to now include the assets of the children's trust, at least in some fashion, in the punitive damages calculation," West Palm Brach Judge Glenn Kelly wrote in a court order, according to ABCNews.com.
Goodman faces a criminal trial on March 6 for charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash, with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison if convicted.
The civil wrongful death trial is scheduled for March 27.
"Nothing in this arrangement with Ms. Hutchins is illegal," Goodman's attorney Daniel Bachi says in a statement. "Everything that has been done by Mr. Goodman was done with the intention to preserve and grow the assets of the Trust for his two minor children, even should he personally be unable to continue his historical role in achieving these goals."