Nuala Barton has had a suit filed against her in Los Angeles Superior Court by her daughter, Mischa Barton, in which the younger Barton lays claims that Nuala withheld earnings and exploited Mischa Barton’s fame for her own financial gain.
“This action arises from the tragic tale of a greedy stage mother posing as a talent manager who, instead of acting in the best interest of her daughter/client, schemed to defraud her unsuspecting victim.”
Mischa seeks unspecified damages. Instead, the actress is seeking to be compensated equivalent to triple the amount that the Los Angeles Superior Court finds has been withheld by Nuala Barton. The complaint lists a series of five counts, including breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral contract, and conversion. Theft by conversion is committed when one person knowingly uses the property or rights of another person without his or her consent or knowledge for their own financial gain.
Mischa Barton makes claims that, in spite of having “absolutely no experience or training” in the management of talent, Nuala organized an elaborate scheme to keep control of her finances and to limit Mischa’s access to her earnings on an infrequent and random basis.
The complaint further alleges that Mischa’s mother induced her to purchase a $7.8 million home and that Nuala Barton set up the details of the sale in a way that would list her as co-owner of the property.
“Nuala and Barton’s father currently reside comfortably in the $7.8 million home. Barton is not welcome at the property,” asserts the complaint.
When Ms. Barton took on a role in the horror film The Hoarder, Nuala Barton allegedly deceived Mischa about the exact compensation, so that she could retain the difference in addition to the “management fee,” which the elder Barton was already charging.
“Nuala currently refuses to provide Barton with any of the funds she earned (and continues to earn in the form of residual payments) for her acting, modeling and endorsement services,” reads the complaint. “These revelations of exploitation and fraud, coupled with ongoing instances of bullying and verbal abuse, eventually led to the breakdown of Barton and Nuala’s personal and professional relationship.”
While Mischa Barton pursues compensation and justice through the courts, she has since moved on to sign with a more reputable talent agency.
Nuala Barton is represented by Lawrence Ecoff of Ecoff Landsberg and Mr. Ecoff states that he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint. Both Mr. Ecoff and Nuala declined to comment.