ShareThis Page
Books

Judge weighs in on struggle surrounding Marvel's Stan Lee

| Friday, July 6, 2018, 9:19 p.m.
A judge has found that an attorney who had obtained an elder-abuse restraining order on behalf of Lee does not in fact represent him. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Ruth Kleman said that she did not recognize Tom Lallas as Lee’s lawyer, and dissolved the temporary restraining order against Lee’s former personal adviser Keya Morgan.
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
A judge has found that an attorney who had obtained an elder-abuse restraining order on behalf of Lee does not in fact represent him. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Ruth Kleman said that she did not recognize Tom Lallas as Lee’s lawyer, and dissolved the temporary restraining order against Lee’s former personal adviser Keya Morgan.

LOS ANGELES — The private struggle over the care and legacy of Marvel mastermind Stan Lee played out in public Friday in a Los Angeles courtroom as attorneys working with his daughter shoved aside a previous lawyer and reasserted that they represent the 95-year-old Lee.

They were granted an elder-abuse restraining order against a former manager of Lee, just as the previous attorney had done, but only after a judge heard arguments about who should speak for Lee.

In the tiny courtroom packed with current and former attorneys and associates of Lee, lawyer Tom Lallas asked for a 30-day extension of the temporary restraining order he had received against Lee's former manager Keya Morgan. Lallas has said in legal documents and news releases in recent weeks that he was representing Lee.

Superior Court Judge Pro Tem Ruth Kleman refused to consider the motion, saying it appeared Lallas was not employed by Lee.

“I'm only concerned who has authority to represent Mr. Lee,” Kleman said.

Lee's daughter and only child, J.C. Lee, sat in court and smiled at her attorneys when the judge refused to recognize Lallas. Attorneys working with her had provided a signed declaration from Stan Lee denouncing Lallas.

The hearing came on the anniversary of the death of Joan Lee, Stan Lee's wife of nearly 70 years, whose absence left a void that has resulted in a struggle between would-be friends, attorneys, advisers and managers of the man whose co-creations include Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and the rest of the Avengers.

The latest Marvel film featuring his characters, “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” was released Friday and is expected to top the weekend box office.

The new restraining order against Morgan, a 42-year-old movie producer who had worked as Lee's manager and personal adviser, demands that he keep away from Lee, Lee's daughter and Lee's brother.

The request for the order alleges that Morgan has attempted to interfere with Lee's ability to contact caregivers, doctors and family members, has attempted to alienate Lee from his daughter, and is embezzling or misappropriating $5 million worth of Lee's assets.

Lee's new lawyers said they would also work with police and prosecutors in an elder-abuse investigation involving Morgan.

Morgan told The Associated Press in a text message that he is in New York working on a film. He declined to comment further on the advice of his lawyer but has previously denied abusing Lee in any way.

Morgan's lawyer Alex Kessel did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the allegations in the new order.

Stan Lee's declaration said he had fired Lallas in February and had no desire to be further represented by him. It also said Morgan had likely committed malpractice by disclosing to media and others his opinions about Lee's health and personal life. It said that he had no desire for Lallas to file for a restraining order in his name.

“Mr. Lallas has done enough damage already,” the document says. “Hopefully, he will just stop.” The document includes Lee's original request that Lallas be fired, signed, “Excelsior! Stan Lee.”

Lallas said outside court that he stood by his assertion that he could act on Lee's behalf, but he was glad at least that Lee's other attorneys were moving to keep Morgan away from him.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me