An attorney who once represented the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Steve Garvey, but now finds himself the defendant in a lawsuit by an ex-girlfriend who alleges he physically abused her, will have an extra month before facing trial in the woman’s case, a judge ruled Friday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos said that although attorneys for Neil Papiano and his conservators had not provided sufficient grounds to support their claim for a delay, a one-month postponement rather than the six months they sought was reasonable.
She rescheduled the trial from Jan. 5 to Feb. 2.
“One month is not going to kill anybody,” the judge said.
Attorney William Glucksman, on behalf of plaintiff Katherine Parnello, said he opposed postponing the trial, but hopes the case will go forward on the new date without a renewed request for more time.
Once a legal giant in the courtroom, the 79-year-old Papiano has now been classified as involuntarily inactive by the State Bar. According to court papers filed by his attorney, Papiano has been diagnosed with dementia and also has financial problems.
Parnello sued Papiano and his law firm in August 2012, alleging he began abusing her in September 2011, often in public.
Parnello also alleges that Papiano attempted to control her financially as early as 2007, when he told her to stop working. She also claims he told her he would always take care of her and that he did not want her to worry about money, but breached the agreement in February 2012 when he stopped paying for her living expenses.
Papiano has countersued Parnello, alleging he gave her $250,000 in February 2012 to buy property in his name, but she later stopped communications with him when he checked to see what she did with the money. Parnello later claimed Papiano gave her the funds as a gift, the suit states.
Papiano’s current mental state is outlined in a letter attached to his attorneys’ court papers, in which Dr. Helena Chang Chui states that he has moderate to severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.
Papiano now lives in a memory care facility in Alhambra.
In a separate court proceeding, a conservatorship has been established over Papiano because of his incapacity.
Judge Maria Stratton has blocked for now the sale of a home where Papiano formerly lived, which has left him strapped for cash to hire experts and cover other costs associated with defending himself, according to his attorney in the Parnello case, Raimund Freihube,
In earlier days, Papiano represented Taylor in a libel and defamation of character lawsuit she filed against The National Enquirer, which paid her an undisclosed amount of money and issued her an apology.
— City News Service
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