Court order bars eviction of Kessler family member from property in $800-million estate litigation

posted on:
November 9, 2015

author:
Staff

category:
Consumer Fraud, Fraud

The Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in and for the County of Washoe issued a Preliminary Injunction to halt the eviction of Marshall Kessler from property involved in ongoing litigation surrounding the $800-million estate of Gerald Kessler, Marshall’s grandfather.

Beasley Allen recently joined the CBC Law Group in the ongoing litigation on behalf of the family of Gerald Kessler, founder of natural products industry Natural Organics, Inc. over control of the Gerald Kessler Revocable Trust. Mr. Kessler passed away in March of this year at the age of 80, leaving an estate believed to be valued at more than $800 million under the control of Melanie Kay Williams (an actress also known by the stage name Meadow Williams), whom he married under questionable circumstances. After the death of Gerald Kessler, Ms. Williams attempted to evict Marshall Kessler from his childhood home on the Treeview Property in New York, an estate owned by Gerald Kessler. The CBC Law Group filed an emergency motion to stay that action, which was granted by the Court. The Court order read, in part:

“This case is still in its infancy, and it is too early for the Court to take a position with respect to the merits. Being mindful of the standard, however, the Court has examined all of the pleadings thus far and finds that the claims of the Plaintiffs are well-pled, are based on solid legal concepts, and have at least as much merit as what has been gleaned from the Opposition.”

The larger dispute in this case is an Amendment created in 2013 to the Gerald A. Kessler Revocable Trust that gives Ms. Williams control over almost all of his assets as Trustee. It further established her as, essentially, the sole and exclusive beneficiary of the estate. A Petition filed on behalf of the Kessler family alleges Ms. Williams, who is 31 years younger than Mr. Kessler, manipulated and unduly influenced him to execute new estate planning documents through actions including bigamy, undue influence and elder abuse.

The Court order went on to say, “Further, if the marriage is found to be Void, the consequences to the recent Trust documents are far-reaching: the composition of the Trust vis-a-vis the Settlor’s spouse in a number of provisions throughout the Trust documents will be affected to a great degree. Preservation of the status quo is paramount here while the merits are developed.”

Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, Lance Gould and Leslie Pescia are working with David J. Callahan, III, managing partner of the CBC Law Group, and Constance L. Akridge and Tamara Reid from Holland & Hart LLP in Reno, Nev. The complaint is filed in the Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, in and for the County of Washoe. Plaintiffs are Marshall Kessler, Sheree Kessler, Craig Kessler, Steven Kessler, Kaleigh Kessler, Krystal Ferrari, Michael Kessler and Shawn Kessler.

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