Lady Justice

Litigation proceeding in $800M Kessler estate dispute

Litigation is proceeding in an ongoing legal battle surrounding the $800-million estate of Gerald Kessler. Beasley Allen is working in cooperation with the CBC Law Group on behalf of the family of Gerald Kessler, founder of natural products industry Natural Organics, Inc., over control of the Gerald A. Kessler Revocable Trust. Mr. Kessler passed away in March 2015 at the age of 80, leaving his estate under the control of Melanie Kay Williams (an actress also known by the stage name Meadow Williams), whom he married under questionable circumstances.

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. After the death of Gerald Kessler, Ms. Williams also attempted to evict Mr. Kessler’s grandson, Marshall Kessler, from his childhood home in New York, an estate owned by Gerald Kessler.

On Jan. 4, the Court ordered that Ms. Williams may not take any further action to evict Marshall Kessler from the Kessler property in New York. Additionally, the Court established a schedule for regular status conferences each month involving attorneys authorized to make decisions on behalf of the litigants and ordered that no distributions be made from the trust without prior orders of the court. The trust also is required to turn over financial documents concerning the trust to our clients.

As a result of publicity surrounding the case, attorneys for the Kessler family noted that several people have come forward to provide information about the events surrounding the case, and any additional information is welcome. 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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