Tag Archives: lawsuit

Why Did Joan Rivers Die? Melissa Rivers Seeks Answers

Even though she was 81 years old when she died on September 4th, there is no denying that Joan Rivers died too soon. She continued to entertain with an energy level that suggested she was anything but eighty-something. Melissa Rivers has now hired a law firm to find out exactly why Joan died … and who, if anyone, should be held responsible.

Representatives for Melissa Rivers told E! News and others that she retained a New York law firm to “fully determine all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Joan Rivers.” Other reports state that the law firm is sending letters to the medical center that performed the surgery which led to Joan Rivers death, as well as the doctors’ offices involved, demanding they preserve their records and phone logs. This is the first step in the long process of pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Melissa Rivers Retains Powerhouse Attorneys For Death of Joan Rivers

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Andy Warhol Farrah Fawcett Portrait Trial Ends In Ryan ONeal’s Favor

Farrah Fawcett’s estate planning wishes have been at the center of a number of lawsuits, as we describe in this article about Ryan O’Neal.  O’Neal was sued by the University of Texas, which claimed that he wrongfully removed the famed Andy Warhol Farrah Fawcett painting from her home after she died.  O’Neal defended himself, saying that this copy of the painting was his and he had permission to take it back after Fawcett died.  Farrah-Fawcett-Portrait-by-Andy-Warhol

The University of Texas disagreed, suing O’Neal back in 2011.  The University’s lawyers felt that, because Fawcett’s revocable living trust left all of her artwork to the University, it should be the rightful owner of the Farrah Fawcett paining, not O’Neal.  It turns out there were actually two copies of the famed portrait, and the University already received one of them.  But it sued O’Neal for the other one too.

The case proceeded to trial last month, lasting three weeks.  O’Neal called several witnesses, including former friends of Fawcett and her former caregiver, who Read more...

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Anna Nicole Smith’s Case Makes A Comeback

Anna Nicole Smith caseIt’s now, officially, the Estate Fight That Refuses To Die!  The quest for money started by Anna Nicole Smith — the former Playboy Playmate, stripper, TV reality star, and the true love of 89-year old Texas oil tycoon, J. Howard Marshall — is not over.  Despite almost 18 years of litigation, two trips to the United States Supreme Court, and untold millions of dollars spent on legal fees, the Anna Nicole Smith case lives on.

Anna Nicole Smith (a/k/a Vickie Lynn Marshall) sued after her elderly husband died, following their 14-month marriage.  She was not happy being left out of his massive ($1.6 billion) estate.  She blamed one of his sons, Pierce Marshall, who inherited everything.

Anna Nicole Smith Case

The probate case started in Louisiana and then moved to Texas.  Smith sued there, but was forced to file bankruptcy in California.  When she did, Pierce sued her, filing a claim in bankruptcy court.  He claimed Smith defamed him by telling the media he committed fraud in managing his father’s Read more...

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No Happy Mothers Day: Kobe Bryant Disputes Mother In Lawsuit

Kobe Bryant, long-time Los Angeles Laker and future Hall-of-Famer, is in a bitter feud with his own mother over ownership of memorabilia potentially worth more than one million dollars.  He’s locked in a he-said, she-said dispute about whether he gave the items to his mother or not.  Kobe Bryant  Lawsuit

Kobe’s mother, Pamela Bryant, signed a Consignment Agreement with Goldin Auctions, in New Jersey.  In doing so, Pamela gave permission to sell more than 100 items from Kobe’s childhood, including his high school game-worn uniforms, NBA championship rings, and high school Varsity letters.  Goldin Auctions, a noted sports memorabilia auctioneer, advanced $450,000 to Pamela, which she used to purchase a house.

The big problem, of course, is that Kobe Bryant says he never gave the items to his mother and that he certainly never authorized the auction.  He sued the auction house in California to stop the sale, just days after the auction house sued him in New Jersey to permit the auction to go forward.

Kobe Bryant Disputes Mother In Lawsuit

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Is Promoter AEG Responsible For Michael Jackson’s Death?

Concert promoter AEG is on the defensive after the Los Angeles Times recently published confidential emails about AEG’s role in the cause of Michael Jackson’s death. The New York Daily News revealed more of the emails in a second article this weekend.  Michael Jackson’s death

Together, the emails paint a picture of AEG demanding that the concert tour go on, despite knowing the extremely fragile state Michael Jackson was in at the time.

But what does it all mean, legally?  Should AEG be found liable for Michael Jackson’s death?

Katherine Jackson and other family members sued AEG, blaming them for controlling and failing to supervise Dr. Conrad Murray, thereby causing Jackson’s death.  AEG denies it controlled or supervised Murray at all.  They say he was Jackson’s personal physician and he alone was responsible.

Whether that’s true or not, AEG was clearly involved in some manner.  The Daily News revealed the most telling of the emails that have been publicly disclosed so far, about AEG’s role in Michael Jackson’s death:

Kenny Ortega

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The Power Struggle Over Archie Comics Teaches Lesson About Succession Planning

The New York Times recently featured a fascinating article called The Battle for a Comic-Book Empire That Archie Built.  It detailed the ongoing legal battle over the two dueling CEO’s of Archie Comic Publications.

Archie Andrews (comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On one side is Jonathan Goldwater, the son of John L. Goldwater who was one of three founders of the company and the visionary behind the Archie character, created in 1941.  Goldwater became a co-CEO and controller of one-half interest in the company after his half-brother, Richard Goldwater, died in 2007.

Nancy Silberkleit is the widow of the son of another founder, Louis Silberkleit.  She was a schoolteacher who became co-CEO when her husband, Michael Silberkleit, died in 2008.  By that time, a long-time employee and editor-in-chief, Victor Gorelick, was running the company as a temporary, stop-gap measure.

Goldwater and Silberkleit tried to work together to manage the company, agreeing in 2009 to run Archie Comics by sharing CEO duties.  Silberkleit was to oversee scholastic and theatrical ventures, placing Read more...

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Did Ryan O’Neal Steal Painting From Farrah Fawcett’s Estate?

Seventies beauty icon Farrah Fawcett died in June of 2009 at the age of 62, following a terrible battle with cancer.  She did the proper estate planning, complete with a will and a trust.   [You can read the trust here].  So why are there not one, but two lawsuits over one of her assets?

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

It all comes down to a famous Andy Warhol painting of Fawcett.  Warhol painted two silkscreen paintings of Fawcett and reportedly gave them both to her as presents.  [You can see one of the two paintings here].

Fawcett’s trust provides that her art collection passed to the University of Texas, her alma mater.  The University received one of the two Warhol paintings, but not the other.  So where is it?

In the possession of Fawcett’s  former on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ryan O’Neal … and he doesn’t even dispute that he has it.  So the University of Texas sued O’Neal, claiming the painting belonged to Fawcett when she died and should now belong to Read more...

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$150 Million Trust Fund Stolen From Poor Children In Panama, Lawsuit Claims

Family fights over wills, trusts and estates are far too common, not only in our country, but elsewhere.  Sometimes, those fights reach a whole new level.  This has certainly been the case with a tragic story from Panama which harmed those most in need … millions of impoverished and starving children.

Wilson C. Lucom / PHOTO La Estrella

A Florida attorney, Richard Lehman, takes center stage in the dispute.   He recently sued political officials throughout Panama — including three Supreme Court judges — charging corruption, bribery, theft, and much more.  The fight involves the estate of Lehman’s former friend and client, Wilson Lucom.

When he died in June of 2006 at the age of 88, Lucom was an expatriate American living in Panama.  One year before he died, Lucom signed a will generously leaving the majority of his $50 million fortune to a trust fund to benefit the poor and needy children of Panama.  That fortune includes ocean-front real estate which has appreciated in value, so that Lucom’s estate is Read more...

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Rosa Parks Trust and Estate Tied Up In Lengthy Court Fight

Rosa Parks Estate

Rosa Parks

Civil rights icon Rosa Parks passed away at the age of 92 on October 25, 2005, in Detroit, Michigan.  Almost six years later, her legacy is still tied up in a lengthy court battle.  The case features allegations of abuse, cronyism and corruption by the probate judge as well as the two lawyers he appointed to oversee the estate and trust

It also involves who will receive all of the considerable civil rights memorabilia owned by Rosa Parks when she was alive, and even the rights to use her name and likeness.

Rosa Parks’ will and trust left the majority of her assets to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, operated by Rosa Parks’ longtime friend, Elaine Steele.  Parks and Steele had formed this Institute.  Steele says she was close to Parks for 45 years and that Parks looked at her as the “daughter she never had.”

But the probate judge did not approve of how Steele handled the estate and trust of Rosa Parks Read more...

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More Legal Fireworks Involving The Farrah Fawcett Trust

Ryan O’Neal is at it again.  He and Craig Nevius, a Hollywood producer who used to work closely with Farrah Fawcett, are in the midst of more legal fighting against one another.

Farrah Fawcett Trust

Andy Warhol’s famous portrait of Farrah Fawcett

Initially, they both sued, each claiming the other had exploited Fawcett while she was sick from the cancer that claimed her life.  Why?  They both said the other had taken advantage of her to produce a documentary about her life and her sickness.  Those lawsuits ended when Nevius ran out of money for legal fees.

Now, he has no choice but to continue fighting.  Ryan O’Neal — Farrah’s ex and father to Farrah’s son — has sued Nevius again.  What’s at stake this time?  It’s all about the art.

Specifically, a certain, famed Andy Warhol painting of Fawcett in O’Neal’s possession. O’Neal says Warhol gave it to him years ago.  Not everyone thinks he’s being honest though.

In fact, Farrah Fawcett’s Trust, which you can read here, states that her Read more...

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