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Mary Williams v. Chris Marder

October 12, 2012

MARY WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHRIS MARDER, WILLIAM WEINSHEIMER AND MICHAEL COTTLE, DEFENDANTS.*FN1



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Ronald A. Guzman

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff has sued defendants Chris Marder, Michael Cottle and William Weinsheimer for conspiring to interfere and tortiously interfering with her employment contract or prospective economic advantage and inheritance expectancy and for malicious prosecution. The case is before the Court on defendants' motions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 56 for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motions.

Facts*fn2

Defendant Chris Marder is S. Edward Marder's son. (Defs.' LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ 2.) Defendant William Weinsheimer is an Illinois attorney who represented Edward in estate planning matters. (Id.) Defendant Michael Cottle was Edward's accountant from 1981 to 2005 and from 2006 until Edward's death on August 18, 2007. (Id.)

In March 2001, Edward was diagnosed with dementia, and from August 2002 until his death, he required full-time nursing care. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 6.)

Starting in August 2002, plaintiff was Edward's head nurse. (Id. ¶ 7.) As such, she administered medication to him, hired and supervised other nurses to care for him, attended his doctor's appointments and traveled with him. In addition, she wrote checks for household expenses, including those for her own pay. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.)

On February 12, 2003, Edward appointed Chris Marder as agent under his powers of attorney for health care and property. (Id. ¶ 11.)

In February 2004, Edward was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. (Id. ¶ 12.) Though Edward could not distinguish between past and present or reality and fantasy, could not groom or bathe himself or remember the names and faces of familiar people, plaintiff continued to write checks for Edward to sign for, among other things, her own pay. (Id. ¶¶ 14-16, 19.)

In March 2005, financial advisors from Edward's bank told Chris Marder and Cottle that the revocable trust from which Edward's expenses were paid would run out of money within six months. (Id. ¶ 20.) In August 2005, the financial advisors hired Dr. Steven Fox to assess Edward's condition, the appropriateness of his care and the possibility that he was being exploited or abused by plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 23.) Over the next six months, Fox analyzed Edward's medical and expense records and interviewed his friends, family and doctors. (Id. ¶¶ 24-25.) One of Edward's nurses, Marianne O'Donnell, told Fox that plaintiff had tried to get valuable possessions from Edward, asked him several times throughout 2005 to bequest money to her and took the title to his car. (Id. ¶ 27.)

On January 3, 2006, plaintiff and Edward met with Weinsheimer to discuss revising Edward's estate. (Id. ¶ 30.) A few days later, Weinsheimer told Chris Marder about the meeting and his concern that Edward was not thinking for himself. (Id. ¶¶ 31-32.)

On January 19, 2006, Weinsheimer sent Edward a letter saying that he would not make any changes to the estate plan until Edward met privately with him to discuss the matter. (Id. ¶ 34.) Edward never contacted Weinsheimer for a meeting. (Id. ¶ 35.)

On January 25, 2006, Fox examined Edward and told Chris Marder that plaintiff was not caring for Edward properly and had instructed the other nurses to isolate him socially, Edward was entirely dependent on plaintiff and could not protect himself from abuse, intimidation or exploitation by her, and Edward needed an order of protection against plaintiff. (Id. ¶¶ 37-38.)

Shortly thereafter, Chris Marder filed a police report on plaintiff, obtained an order of protection against her, and fired her. (Id. ¶¶ 43-48.)

After receiving the report, the Highland Park Police Department conducted an investigation. (Id. ΒΆΒΆ 50-51.) On March 20, 2006, the police arrested plaintiff, and on April 12, 2006, a grand jury indicted her for financial ...


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