A well-known Manhattan lawyer named Richard Fischbein set up a trust for his daughter, Fischbein-Bodner, in 1980. According to Fischbein-Bodner, the trust included two expensive East Hampton properties. Sounds amazing! So, what’s the problem?
Daughter v. Father: Mishandling of Her Trust Fund
The daughter asked the state Surrogate’s Court to audit her trust fund in July claiming her father mishandled her trust fund. She asserts that her father replaced the two East Hampton properties for two cheaper properties. According to the daughter, her father “used the properties to partially leverage $6.5 million worth of mortgages.” It seems Fischbein-Bodner feels spited that she only received $114,000.
Father v. Daughter: Defamation
Fischbein is now suing his daughter for libel, asking for $3 million in punitive damage. He claims that she defamed his reputation by accusing him of mishandling her trust fund.
What is Libel?
Libel is a form of defamation. Libel is written defamation whereas slander is a spoken defamation. In order for Fischbein to prove that he was defamed, he must prove a number of elements: (1) the statement by Fischbein-Bodner must be defamatory, meaning it adversely affects Fischbein’s reputation, (2) the statement must be concerning Fischbein, meaning people who hear it must know it was about Fischbein, (3) the defamatory statement must be made to a third person, and (4) it must cause damages.
Have you ever been defamed? To learn more about defamation click here.
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