Debter v. StephensAnnotate this Case
William Stephens had two children who were born out of wedlock, Frank Debter and Vickie Estes. Stephens died in 2011; he executed his last will and testament in early 2006. In it, Stephens made several specific bequests of money, and he left the residue of his estate to Estes. He did not make Debter a beneficiary under the will. Debter filed a caveat to executor Roy Stephens' petition to probate the decedent Stephens' will in solemn form, challenging the validity of the will. Debter claimed that the will was a product of undue influence and that the decedent Stephens intended for Debter to share in his estate as if he were a formally legitimated child. The probate court rejected Debter's caveat, and Debter appealed to the superior court. Once there, the executor filed a motion for summary judgment which the superior court summarily granted in 2014. Instead of filing a timely notice of appeal from this ruling, Debter filed a motion for new trial, asserting that he had discovered new material evidence which undermined the superior court's summary judgment decision. The trial court denied Debter's motion for new trial, prompting this appeal. The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal because his notice for appeal was untimely filed. The Court noted that Debter did not present evidence that would qualify as "newly discovered evidence" to challenge the grant of summary judgment to the executor; he merely presented evidence that he should have, but failed to, produce earlier in the case.