A grandson of the late Walt Disney and his stepmother announced Thursday the filing of letters with the California Commission on Judicial Performance asking for the permanent removal of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan from the bench for alleged violations of the California Canons of Judicial Ethics.
Bradford D. Lund, 50, has been seeking $200 million, his claimed share of the Disney fortune, for the past 15 years, battling with trustees, estranged family members and probate court officials along the way.
He and Sherry Lund held a news conference with their attorneys to announce the filing of the two letters.
Bradford Lund’s lawyers maintain that Cowan’s alleged bias has had the effect of protecting violations of duties by four “hostile trustees” who allegedly used “every tactic possible to attack both Mr. Lund and his entire family.”
A representative for the Superior Court said Cowan had no comment.
Attorneys for both Lunds allege trustees L. Andrew Gifford, Robert L. Wilson, Douglas Strode, and the financial trustee bank, the First Republic Trust Co., violated duties of loyalty owed to Lund and favored his twin sister, Michelle, over him without justification.
In their letters, the lawyers for the two Lunds cited what they say was a statement by Cowan in probate court on June 25, 2019. In explaining his denial of Bradford Lund’s right to join in a global settlement agreement to which all parties had agreed, Cowan allegedly said, “Do I want to give 200 million dollars effectively to someone who may suffer from Down syndrome? The answer is no,” according to the Lund attorneys.
Bradford Lund’s lead attorney, Sandra Slaton, immediately asked the judge to withdraw the statement, saying that the public record showed a DNA test from a genetic laboratory in Wisconsin showed Lund did not have Down syndrome and Cowan responded with one word, “Denied,” according to Lund’s legal representatives.
“The judicial canons require that a judge must preside over cases with neutrality and fairness,” Bradley Lund’s lawyers wrote in their letter to the commission. “The standard for removal of a judge must be exceedingly high. It must be more than mere disagreement with the judge’s views of the facts and the evidence. There must be a substantial offense to the standards of integrity required of a judge. That high standard has been met here.”
Cowan is currently hearing civil cases.