Engaged in Tragedy

Wrongful death lawsuit

Last summer, news outlets were consumed with the disappearance of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old woman who mysteriously ceased communication with her family while traveling cross-country with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie. The couple departed from New York in July; and Brian traveled home to his parents’ house in Florida on September 1. Gabby was reported missing on September 11, and about a week later, her body was found in Teton County, Wyoming. Now, more than half a year has passed, and Gabby’s parents have taken measures to seek compensation for their daughter’s strangulation and subsequent death. Read more

Follow the Road to Ownership

Yellow brick lawsuit

Almost fifty years after a dress was gifted to a priest at The Catholic University of America, a relative is challenging the determined ownership of the costume. The significance of the blue and white gingham dress and paired white blouse is legendary. Judy Garland’s acquired costume in the iconic Wizard of Oz is one of four total dresses and one of two dresses with the matching blouse known to still be in existence. Actress Mercedes McCambridge, who died in 2004, gave the costume to Rev. Gilbert Hartke in 1973 as a ‘thank you’ for helping her through her substance use issues. Now, the priest’s niece, Barbara Hartke, contends that the dress belongs to her, as the heir of her uncle’s estate. Read more

Band Looking to Settle

Music mishap

Back in 2017, fans of Soundgarden were saddened to hear of the loss of the band’s leading front man, Chris Cornell. Since the dust settled, the remaining band members have become entwined in legal trouble with the late musician’s wife, Vicky Cornell. Following Chris Cornell’s death, Vicky Cornell inherited stake in the band. Concerning royalties and interest buyouts, Cornell is claiming that she was offered, on behalf of the Cornell Estate, amounts that were well below industry standard. In terms of evaluating the true value of what the Estate may claim, Vicky Cornell accuses the remaining band members of restricting her access to key financial records and inventory. Read more

Wrongful Death of TV Star

Beautiful but deadly lake

The cast of Glee has seen its fair share of tragedy.  Since 2013, three actors on the show have passed away.  The most recent death occurred this past summer on July 8.  Naya Rivera and her four-year-old son rented a pontoon boat from Parks and Recreation Management (PMC) to spend the day on Lake Piru. Fans were shocked to hear that the actress did not return to shore, leaving her son as the lone survivor. After an extensive and thorough days-long search, Rivera’s body was recovered.  Four months since that accident, Rivera’s estate and her ex-husband have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her son. Read more

Estate of Artist Pops Back into Court

Will a museum ever be built?

The reproduction rights for the artwork of deceased artist, Robert Indiana, will be determined in a court of law. Michael McKenzie filed the lawsuit in Portland, Maine this month and claims that he is fully entitled to the reproduction rights.  McKenzie worked with Indiana for many years as an art publisher and collaborator.  Indiana was known for creating pop-style art.  Despite the deal made while Indiana was alive, the executor of the late artist’s estate contends that McKenzie’s rights to reproduce ceased as soon as Indiana died. Read more