The Maglite is a flashlight popular with some law enforcement personnel
because of its high beam and, if necessary, the ability to be used as
a weapon. It is also part of California's family law history.
In 1974, Anthony "Tony" Maglica, the inventor of the Maglite,
and Claire Halasz fell in love. She and her two sons (from a former marriage)
moved in with him, and lived as "husband and wife" with Claire
as Tony's helpmate in the home and in his flashlight business.
When their relationship soured in 1992, they separated, Claire found herself
without the rights afforded legally married spouses, and could not get
justice in the family court system. She sued Tony in civil court, her
only available option, for breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary
duty and quantum meruit (value of services rendered). A jury awarded her
$84 million dollars! After an appeal by Tony, Claire settled her case
with him for $29 million dollars.
In California, a couple living together and acting as if they are legally
married, will not establish a common law marriage. In fact, only those
couples who moved to California after establishing common law marriages
in states that recognized them, would receive recognition in California,
and only for "divorce" issues, such as,
In California, many couples not wanting to marry, but wanting to be treated
as married couples, can register as domestic partners under the California
Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003. The act gives
these couples almost all of the legal rights, protections and benefits,
as well as the responsibilities, that California grants to and imposes
upon legally married spouses.