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Top NY Lawyer Sues Family Matriarch for Defamation

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. | Last updated on

To say that this is a family feud would be characterizing the facts mildly. Top litigator Nicholas Gravante of the firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner has sued his mother, Elinor Gravante, for $15,000 and injunctive relief stemming from what he alleges are defamatory remarks about him and his firm. And if you think the name Gravante sounds familiar, it's because Gravante, Sr. represented the Gambino and Lucchese crime families.

To make things more interesting, Gravante's sisters have joined their brother against their mother in a separate suit concerning high value property in Connecticut. And mom has sued back. What a great piece to follow Mothers' Day, right?

It All Begins Somewhere

The brother and two sisters of the Sr. and now passed Gravante have sued their mother and moved for declaratory judgment of their rights in some mouth wateringly valuable property. It seems that Gravante Sr. died without leaving a will. Now why on earth would a successful attorney do that?

Stop Defaming Me, Mom

The facts are too numerous here, but a second suit was brought by Gravante against his mother for her allegedly defamatory remarks made against him stemming from the unwilling transfer of property to the children. Mrs. Gravante's lawyers contend that she was under the impression that when papers were presented to her, she thought she was signing a DNR, not a transfer of interest.

The complaint alleges that Ms. Gravante went to town by calling friends and family and describing Jr. as a "lying cheat." Sounds pretty prima facie to us.

Mom's Countersuit

Of course, there are two sides to every story. Mom decided to start suing back and accused her children of not paying some $600,000 in annual rental incomes from a handful of properties she was promised in 2004. The papers that were apparently presented at the hospital were the transfer papers. It is alleged that she thought they were papers instructing doctors not to revive her if things went badly.

Children Speak Out

In an interview with AmLaw Daily, the children made it clear that they loved their mother but that she was suffering a number of different health problems including memory loss. "We love her," they said, "and will continue to support her financially and emotionally through this painful period."

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