This is Part 2 of a series of posts analyzing the legal issues in the hit podcast S-Town, produced by the creators of Serial and This American Life. For more background, check out the introduction to the series. Although the events in S-Town occur in Alabama, for the purposes of this series, the legal analysis will be based on general principles of law and Pennsylvania law, since we’re Pennsylvania lawyers.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t listened to the series yet and want to avoid spoilers, proceed beyond this point with caution.
Chapter 3 picks up after the shocking end of Chapter 2, wherein the listener learns that John B. has killed himself. It quickly becomes apparent that while John had talked about suicide for years, even keeping a lengthy suicide note on his computer, he did not plan to have his loved ones taken care of after his death.
John B. was the primary care taker for his mother, Mary Grace. John led people to think she was suffering from some form of dementia, although an actual diagnosis is never given. When John dies, someone had to care for Mary Grace. There was a battle between Tyler Goodson, a younger friend and sometime employee of John and Rita and Charlie, cousins of John. At first listen, Tyler seems to be the reasonable choice. He knows Mary Grace well, seeing her almost daily. He had been helping John B. around the property for years. Tyler considered Mary Grace to be part of his family, even referring to her as Mama. Rita and Charlie on the other hand, seem to appear out of nowhere and now want to take over Mary Grace’s care. While the listener is given both sides of the story, it is never clear who has pure motives or who is trying to take advantage of Mary Grace. Continue Reading Legal Lessons from Hit Podcast, S-Town – Part 2: Power of Attorney