Family fights can get ugly. New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is in the middle of one now.
ESPN is reporting that Benson, 87, was ordered by Civil District judge Kern Reese to undergo a physical and mental examination by three different doctors. Reese’s decision is in response to a civil suit filed by Benson’s daughter, Renee, and her two children, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc. The lawsuit wants Benson declared unable to take care of his own affairs, as well as dealings which he owns.
The lawsuit was filed in January after Benson had removed his daughter and grandchildren from a succession plan involving both New Orleans sports teams. Lawyers for Benson said he made the succession change after a “deliberate, reasoned” decision to eventually let his wife of ten years, Gayle, assume control of both teams.
In a related case in Texas, two as-yet unnamed persons were appointed to oversee Benson’s holdings that have currently been placed in a trust. Both sides were represented by counsel at that hearing, though none of the listed parties were at that meeting.
Randall Smith, lawyer for Benson’s estranged family members, was “delighted” with the judge’s decision, saying it was what the family members had been seeking for a long time now. Smith argued that an examination would help to determine Benson’s mental ability.
Philip Wittman, Benson’s attorney, was disappointed that the case wasn’t thrown out of court or dismissed. But, he was pleased that the judge will allow the standard test, and not a more invasive test.
When he was asked if hewas concerned about a potential medical exam, Wittmann said, “No. Because I don’t think the assessment’s going to show anything I haven’t already said. Mr. Benson’s fully capable of managing his own affairs.”
Pro Football Talk is reporting that wills can be changed as often as the will’s subject would like, provided said person is not mentally incapacitated or deemed such by a court of law after an exam.
In this case, the three estranged family members are trying to get a judge to reverse by Benson to leave both New Orleans teams to his wife, and nothing to them. They feel that Benson is not capable of deciding who should inherit his teams. Benson’s estranged family is looking to have Benson’s decision reversed regarding his family being told they are out and will receive nothing. Now, three doctors will examine Benson, then tell the judges what they find and how to best proceed.
[Image courtesy of Zimbio.com]