1956 Paternity Lawsuit Finally Reaches Conclusion 63 Years Later

Average lawsuit in Brazil takes seven years to conclude--still a long time

Ivan Martínez-Vargas
São Paulo

When the young Paulo Roberto Menezes filed a petition for paternity investigation on April 21, 1956, in the city of Alegrete (RS), he certainly did think that the lawsuit would conclude 63 years later.

He wanted to be recognized as the son of José Cândido de Almeida - a dead person without acknowledged descendants - and thus entitled to the inheritance.

In the lawsuit, Menezes tells that he and a brother, called "negrinhos" by Almeida, resulted from an extra-marital affair.

The story of the case ended 23,050 days after Menezes filed the initial petition, more precisely on May 31, 2019, when Minister Rosa Weber of the Supreme Court, the country's main court, denied the last appeals of relatives de Almeida.

Pending cases in the state courts of justice in Brazil spent an average of seven years in the execution phase in 2017 (Foto: Sergio Lima/Folhapress PODER) - Folhapress

She maintained the decision of the original judge, who had acknowledged that Menezes was Almeida's son in January 1968, almost 12 years after the initial request.

The delay of decades makes the case iconic, but pending cases in the state courts of justice in Brazil spent an average of seven years in the execution phase in 2017, according to data from the National Justice Council (CNJ).

In the case of Alegrete, Cristóvão Manoel Muñoz, Beatriz Muñoz Braz and Gil Braz, relatives of Almeida, began a sequence of appeals that eventually led the case to the STF, where at least nine justices heard the issue.

The lawyers on both sides of the case have already died. Folha could not find Menezes or his descendants. If he's alive, he would be 87 today.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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