Lawyers for Casey Kasem’s widow and youngest daughter state in new court papers that neither now lives in California and that the state has no jurisdiction to force them into court to face a wrongful death lawsuit filed last year by the radio icon’s oldest children and his brother.
The Los Angeles Superior Court suit alleges Jean and daughter Liberty Kasem are liable for wrongful death, elder abuse and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Liberty Kasem, 26, is the only child born to Casey and Jean Kasem, who was married to the longtime radio personality from 1980 until his June 2014 death at age 82 in Washington state from a form of dementia and a severe bedsore.
But without stating precisely where their clients now reside, lawyers for Jean and Liberty Kasem say their clients no longer have any ties to California and do not even hold so much as a bank account or a landline telephone number in the state. They want an order quashing service of the summons against them, or an alternative order transferring the case to federal court in Washington state since that is where Kasem died.
“For that reason, Washington is the most appropriate forum for these claims,” the defense attorneys state in their court papers. “His final medical care occurred in the state of Washington. Most of the evidence concerning the elder abuse and wrongful death claims exists in the state of Washington. The relevant witnesses are in the state of Washington.”
The Kasem lawyers are taking aim at paragraphs in the lawsuit that state that “at all times relevant” Jean and Liberty Kasem were residents of California.
“These statements are false because at the time the complaints were filed, neither defendants were residents of California,” according to the defendants’ attorneys’ court papers.
In a sworn declaration, Jean Kasem says she and daughter Liberty were not living in California when the lawsuit was filed last Nov. 25 and that and that she was not employed in the state.
“I have no intention to travel to or conduct business in California,” Jean Kasem states. “Any travel to California in connection with this lawsuit would be a significant inconvenience and burden to me.”
More than a year before she was sued, Jean Kasem says, she “purposely acted to remove myself from California and was not conducting any activities in the state of California.”
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Kerri, Julie and Michael Kasem and their uncle, Mouner. They fought Jean Kasem over visitation access before her husband died.
Kerri Kasem was given temporary conservatorship powers over her father and had control of his medical care. The temporary conservatorship expired upon his death, but she was later appointed special administrator of her father’s estate.
In their court papers, the plaintiffs cited Jean Kasem’s decision to move her husband from a medical facility in Santa Monica to a friend’s home in Washington state.
“Jean chartered a plane to avoid detection and flew Casey to … Washington,” the suit states. “There, she and Liberty moved Casey in with a childhood friend …. whom Casey had never met.”
The traveling took its toll on the famed deejay, causing him to suffer a bedsore a month before he died “after a seven-day sojourn in Jean and Liberty’s custody,” the suit states.
After his death, Jean Kasem transported her husband’s body to Norway, where he was buried in an unmarked grave despite his wishes to be buried at a cemetery in Los Angeles, the lawsuit states.
In May 2015, the District Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges against Jean Kasem regarding her husband’s death.
Casey Kasem began his “American Top 40” radio show in July 1970, signing off each time with the message, “And don’t forget: Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”
Kerri, Julie and Michael Kasem were born during their father’s 1972-79 marriage to Linda Myers.
–City News Service