CEASE AND DESIST LETTERS FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE – KARDASHIAN EDITION

Ellen-Kardashian-with-Kardashians-at-XMas-1913134753907818054How much might the late Robert Kardashian’s diary and personal photographs documenting the childhood exploits of Kourtney, Kimberly, and Khloé be worth? I’m no Kardashian maven, but I’m guessing a whole lot. As the girls allege in a Complaint they (together with brother Robert Jr. and mom Kris Jenner) filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles, with uncharacteristic understatement, “the Kardashian family are well-recognized in pop culture and most things ‘Kardashian’ have become extremely valuable.” So  what’s their beef with step-mother Ellen Pearson (second from left, in happier times) who married their dad two months before his untimely death in 2003?

Seems that the incredibly prescient Ms. Pearson has been holding on to her late husband’s diary and family photos all these years, waiting for the surviving family to become famous for being famous, and has now decided it is time to cash in. The children claim, however, that under the terms of the residual bequest in Kardashian’s will, property not explicitly mentioned in the will, including the diary, the photos, and the intangible copyrights in the diary and photos, belongs to them, and that Pearson is has committed conversion (i.e., theft) and copyright infringement. The children were evidently unaware of the existence of these materials until Pearson began shopping them to tabloids recently. They promptly applied for copyrights in their names and filed suit.

Under normal circumstances the factual dispute regarding Kardashian’s intent could be pretty intense (see Howard Hughes, Mormon Will of), but Pearson has dug a pretty deep hole for herself. Pearson—who, like others in the Kardashian orbit, is not known for frugality—recently went through bankruptcy proceedings in which she failed to disclose these valuable assets.  This will take some mighty good explaining.

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