SOURCE: Brando Trust

August 05, 2009 13:53 ET

Brando Trust Wins Victory in State of California Court of Appeal

Court Rules Against Appellant Deborah Brando Ruling Plaintiff's Attempt to Disturb the Closed Estate of Marlon Brando Was Improper

BEVERLY HILLS, CA--(Marketwire - August 5, 2009) - The State of California Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of the Brando Trust and decided against an appeal made by plaintiff Deborah Brando (nee Presley) who petitioned to revoke the decision of the probate May 2007 court orders upholding Avra Douglas, Larry Dressler and Mike Medavoy as co-executors of the Brando Estate.

The Court of Appeal decision represents the third failed attempt by the Plaintiff to challenge the will and reopen the estate. The Plaintiff's original challenge was denied when the probate court dismissed her first attempt on January 16, 2008.

The Plaintiff filed her second attempt on January 28, 2008. On May 29, 2008, the probate court dismissed her second petition because she did not have standing to seek the revocation of Marlon Brando's codicil previously admitted to probate; she was barred from seeking revocation because the applicable statute of limitations had expired; and she had not provided grounds sufficient for the probate court to grant the relief she requested.

Stemming from her failed second attempt, the Plaintiff filed her petition to the State of California Court of Appeal, which heard oral arguments on the appeal on July 23, 2009. The Court of Appeal issued its unanimous decision on July 30, 2009, seven days later.

The Court of Appeal's decision affirms the probate judgment on two grounds: (1) The petitioner does not have standing to challenge the will; and (2) her attempt to challenge the will is untimely. The Court of Appeal awarded Douglas, Medavoy and Dressler their costs on appeal.

The Court of Appeal's decision affirms that Plaintiff's attempt to disturb the closed estate of Marlon Brando was improper as a matter of law. The opinion also confirms that Plaintiff has no interest in the Estate of Marlon Brando and that her attack on the closed estate is untimely.

Michael S. Brophy, litigation partner at Russ, August and Kabat, is the attorney that handled the appeal for the discharged co-executors. Brophy is also handling related civil litigation filed by Deborah Brando (nee Presley). Elizabeth A. Bawden, partner at Larson & Bawden LLP, handled the underlying probate proceeding.

Brophy states: "The Court of Appeal's opinion confirms that the probate court orders are the final word on these estate issues. Avra Douglas, Mike Medavoy, and Larry Dressler served as co-executors of the valid will of Marlon Brando and in that capacity acted appropriately under the terms of the will and the laws of the State of California."

Brophy added: "It is unfortunate that the appellant continued to seek to disturb the closed estate, even after the probate court explained that her action was inappropriate. The probate statutes are designed to provide certainty and to prevent untimely attacks like these. The statutory protections and procedures prevent disinterested parties from using untimely, false accusations to disturb settled transactions and distributions."

"We are delighted by the ruling of the Court of Appeal and look forward to continuing to carry out all of our responsibilities as co-trustees according to Marlon Brando's wishes. We have dealt with numerous lawsuits involving Marlon Brando's Estate since 2004 and we look forward to having the one remaining lawsuit resolved in the very near future so that the Trust can focus its time, attention and valuable resources on building a strong and successful business on behalf of the beneficiaries," said the Brando Trust.

Contact Information

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    Steve Syatt
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