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MHH Obtains Preliminary Injunction & Prejudgment Order Of Attachment In Dispute Concerning Suspicious Changes In Decedent’s Estate Plan

MHH was retained by the plaintiff after she learned that the beneficiary designations on three of her daughter’s assets totaling approximately $1,000,000 were suspiciously changed in favor of an old boyfriend just before her daughter tragically died of cancer.  Led by Stephen Ginsberg and Karen Davakis, MHH filed a complaint and an order to show cause for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) and preliminary injunction enjoining the defendant from transferring any of the assets in dispute, and sought expedited discovery. After the Court granted plaintiff a TRO and expedited discovery, MHH moved expeditiously to conduct party and non-party discovery, including document discovery and depositions, over a period of less than two months. This led to several substantial discoveries. Documentary evidence reflected that tens of thousands of the decedent’s money was transferred  from her bank account to the defendant’s own bank accounts in the months prior to her death.  During his deposition, defendant was unable to explain why these transfers were made or how he spent any of the monies he received.  Defendant also admitted that he routinely gambled, had not been employed in more than ten years, had not filed tax returns in more than ten years, and that he purchased a BMW X5 less than 24 hours after receiving notice of plaintiff’s proposed TRO by registering the vehicle in another individual’s name. MHH immediately filed a second order to show cause for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and order of attachment over the BMW X5, which the Court also granted.

The Court ultimately ordered the parties to fully brief plaintiff’s motions for provisional relief and then heard oral argument. The Court repeatedly emphasized during oral argument the breadth of the influence defendant exerted over decedent, noting that this is “really a horrible case.” At the conclusion of the motions, the Supreme Court of New York, Commercial Division, by Hon. Andrew Borrok, issued a written decision (attached hereto) granting plaintiff’s motions in total, including granting a preliminary injunction over all of the subject assets, and an order of attachment over the BMW, insurance proceeds, any real and personal property in which the defendant has an interest. In its decision, the Court specifically held that the evidence before it “unequivocally establishes that [decedent] was not lucid at the time she allegedly transferred the funds to [defendant],” and expressly recognized just “how vulnerable [decedent] was and how easy it was for [defendant] to prey on her.” This was a terrific win for the client and for MHH.

Millicent Mendez, Millicent Mendez Ashanti Cummings vs. Edgar A. Harvey-Lewis, New York Life Insurance Company, Bank of America, N.A., Rayan Wilson