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Lawyers Say Malpractice Suit by Mall Dynasty Heir Is ‘Study in Sensationalism’

Posted Nov 4, 2009 11:11 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Lawyers responding to a malpractice suit filed in Chicago by mall dynasty heir Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan questioned jurisdiction and criticized the complaint in responses filed last week.

The suit by Scanlan claims Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg is to blame for more than $300 million in her trusts’ investment losses. The lawyers oversaw General Trust Co., a corporate trustee set up to manage the trusts of the Bucksbaum family.

A motion to dismiss filed on behalf of Neal Gerber lawyers Marshall Eisenberg and Earl Melamed says Scanlan had no right to any distribution of trust assets or principal, leaving the court without jurisdiction, the National Law Journal reports.

A separate motion to dismiss filed by lawyers representing the general trust said Scanlan’s suit was a "study in sensationalism" that is "peppered with gratuitous allegations," according to the NLJ account.

The trusts were heavily invested in General Growth Properties, the mall investment company created and partly owned by the Bucksbaums. The shares lost value as the company neared bankruptcy. Scanlan’s suit says the lawyers used her trust to loan at least $90 million to two General Growth officers to allow them to satisfy margin calls connected to their purchases of company stock.

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