SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A woman who said she helped her longtime boyfriend build a flashlight empire - and then was left in the dark when they split up - was awarded $84 million in palimony Friday.

A Superior Court jury ordered Tony Maglica, a 64-year-old Croatian immigrant, to pay the money to Claire Maglica, 60.

Ms. Maglica said she helped build Mag Instruments Inc. from a small Ontario machine shop into a company worth an estimated $400 million.

Maglica was the company's president. Ms. Maglica was executive vice president.

During the six-week trial, she testified the couple had an oral agreement to split everything. He claimed she signed an agreement in 1976 promising never to claim his assets.

But the jurors said Maglica's written agreement was unenforceable because it was fraudulent and signed under ''duress and undue influence.''

The Maglicas had a 20-year relationship and introduced themselves as a married couple. But they never married and split in 1992 when she discovered he was planning to leave stock to his children from a previous marriage.

Neither party commented immediately after the verdict. Ms. Maglica's lawyer, John Keker, said he believed the $84 million was the largest palimony settlement ever awarded.