‘Gossip Girl’ Family Lawsuit Gets Ugly

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – “Gossip Girl” Leighton Meester’s real life mother countersued her daughter, demanding $3 million to settle a promise that the actress said she never made in the first place. Leighton Meester, who plays Blair Waldorf on the “Gossip Girl” TV show, sued her mom first.
     Leighton Meester’s mother, Constance Meester, sued her daughter four days after the actress sued mom, asking the court to declare that she did not owe her mother money, as her mom claimed.
     Because the women share the same last name, Courthouse News will refer to them by their first names in this article.
     In her complaint, also in Superior Court, Constance claims that contrary to Leighton’s lawsuit, her estranged daughter did promise to pay her $10,000 a month for life, but mom says she’s willing to accept a lump sum of $3 million to settle it.
     In the first lawsuit, Leighton said she was paying her mom beaucoup dough to pay for Leighton’s brother’s brain surgery and post-operative care. But Leighton said she cut her mom off when she learned that Constance was stealing her son’s pain medication, abusing alcohol and spending money on plastic surgery and Botox injections for herself.
     Constance tells a different story. She sued her daughter and her loan-out corporation, My Dog Jack Productions, and Leighton’s managers, Scott Feinstein and Summit Business Management.
     According to the mother’s complaint: “Leighton intentionally ceased payments to Constance under the terms of a settlement and support agreement because Leighton could not convince her younger brother, Alexander, cancer survivor who recently underwent brain surgery, to leave his mother and move to New York City. Leighton, Summit and Feinstein canceled all payments and Constance’s health insurance. Since Alexander requires 24 hour care from Constance, no alternative source of income is possible. As a direct result of Leighton’s breach, there are no funds to feed and care for Alexander. No funds are available to pay utilities and the ordinary basic requirements for sustaining life.”
     Constance describes herself as a single mother who sacrificed everything to support her daughter’s desire to become an actress. “The funds Constance dedicated to this endeavor exceeded $230,000,” Constance says. “Private schools and acting classes were paid for by Constance. Constance took Leighton on interviews and auditions and sacrificed her happiness and that of Leighton’s brothers to further her daughter’s career. At all relevant times, Constance managed Leighton’s career.”
     After Leighton was signed to star in “Gossip Girl,” her career took off. Constance says trouble began when Leighton took control of Intentional Productions Inc., (IPI) a company Constance owned and operated to handle Leighton’s career.
     The mom claims her daughter asked Constance to meet with defendant Feinstein in December 2008. “Feinstein told Constance to sign some paper so he could prepare tax returns for IPI. Constance did so. By the beginning of 2009, funds in the amount of $240,000 were looted out of the IPI account,” the mom says. “Leighton’s relationship with Constance was nonexistent.
     “In March, 2009 Leighton was in arbitration with her former agency, Abrams Artist Agency. Attorney Marty Singer contacted Constance to procure her testimony on behalf of Leighton. Constance’s testimony centered around the fact that IPI and Constance were Leighton’s managers and as such Constance has made the decision to terminate Abrams Artist Agency. At that juncture, Marty Singer brokered a settlement agreement between Leighton, Constance and IPI. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Leighton would pay Constance $30,000 immediately and $10,000 per month thereafter for support of Constance and Alexander and as compensation for usurping IPI and its assets. $20,000 was paid to Constance and then sporadic payments of $7,500 per month. Health insurance was to be provided for Constance and Alexander. This did not occur until a year and a half later.”
     Constance claims she did not have the energy to challenge the breaches of agreements because she was dealing with a diagnosis of hepatitis C, medical bills of $5,000 a month, and her home went into foreclosure.
     Constance describes herself as a “dependent adult,” and claims her daughter oppressed and “financially abused” her: “Within the meaning of Cal. Civil Code Section 1575, Constance was under the ‘undue influence’ of Leighton – taking unfair advantage of another’s weakness of mind or taking a grossly oppressive and unfair advantage of another’s necessities or distress. At all relevant times Constance was a ‘dependent adult’ within the meaning of Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.23 – one who has physical or mental limitations that restrict her ability to carry out normal activities or protect her rights. At all relevant times, Constance was financially abused within the meaning of Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.30 – one who misappropriates another’s personal and financial property by secreting the property with intent to defraud.”
     Constance says that after her daughter cut her off, and she lost her health insurance, she got only sporadic payments from Leighton, and that Leighton stopped paying for her brother’s school tuition.
     She adds: “When Alexander was six months old he underwent brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. As a result Alexander required special schooling. Leighton paid for the 2010-2011 school year tuition but never covered the subsequent tuition payments of $30,000 per year. In May 2011, Alexander was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia. He underwent a five-hour craniotomy. The surgery was designed to stop excruciating pain that Alexander was enduring. During 2011, Leighton kept sending over 200 text messages to Alexander defaming her mother and instructing Alexander to move to New York or else. Before Alexander’s recent operation, Leighton’s only comment was to tell Alexander she hoped he would not be disfigured which would hinder his fledgling acting career.”
     Constance claims that after the surgery, when Alexander needed 24-hour care, “Leighton sent a text message to Alexander stating that if he did not move to New York City, she would cut off all support payments to both Constance and Alexander and disown him. If he did abandon his mother, she affirmed her commitment to continue support for Alexander and Constance. Alexander responded that he just had brain surgery and could not travel. Leighton did not care.”
     By July this year, Constance says, she was financially bereft and no longer had health insurance, although Leighton still paid for her brother’s health insurance.
     Constance adds: “as an example of the despicable and malicious conduct exhibited by Leighton,” an L.A. County Social Services worker visited her on June 14 “and said complaints were made that Constance was physically abusing Alexander’s head wound.”
     Constance claims the social worker “looked at Alexander’s scar and then commented on the exceptional care his mother was providing.” Constance adds that the social worker told her that “someone is out to hurt you,” but would not divulge the source of the allegedly bogus complaint.
     The next morning, Constance says, two police officers followed up with a visit “because of the child abuse complaint.”
     Constance says she believes that Leighton is the person who reported her to Social Services.
     She adds: “It is obvious that Leighton’s father, who had attempted the same tactics when fighting Constance for custody years ago, is advising Leighton how to destroy her mother.”
     Leighton’s father is not a party to Constance’s lawsuit.
     The 33-page complaint continues in this ugly vein, from which this report has cited quotes thus far from only the first 6 pages. Constance accuses her daughter of “bad faith and fraud” and says she “had no desire to sue her daughter or damage her reputation even though Leighton had acted maliciously.”
     Constance adds that one of her daughter’s attorneys, “Marty Singer,” told Constance’s attorney “that Leighton wanted to settle but would never do so if Constance filed a lawsuit.” Constance says that her own attorney “agreed to refrain from filing the lawsuit to achieve a confidential settlement for all concerned. Constance’s act of good faith was met by another example of betrayal. Without Singer’s knowledge, Leighton’s advisers prepared and filed a frivolous lawsuit to appear at the injured party. How transparent and typical of her!”
     Attorney Martin Singer is not a defendant in Constance’s lawsuit, nor is he counsel of record in Leighton’s complaint.
     Constance demands $3 million in damages. She alleges breach of oral agreement, breach of implied contract, promissory estoppel, breach of good faith, intentional interference with contract, fraud in the inducement, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unjust enrichment, dependent adult abuse, conversion and assault and battery.
     She is represented by Robert Silverman.

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