UPDATED with details from legal memo: A judge dismissed a restraining order that sought to permanently bar a memorabilia collector from involvement in Stan Lee’s affairs, citing confusion over who legitimately represented the Marvel Comics icon.
Attorney Tom Lallas said he appeared in court today to argue for a permanent restraining order against Keya Morgan, who had inserted himself into Lee’s affairs. Lallas said he was confronted, in court, by other lawyers who also claimed to represent Lee.
“It was very unusual,” said Lallas, who was asked by the Los Angeles Police Department detective investigating claims of elder abuse to step in as legal guardian. “It has never happened to me in 40 years.”
Judge Pro Tem Ruth Kleman, citing the lack of clarity about Lee’s legal representation, dismissed the request for a permanent restraining order without prejudice — meaning it could be refiled at any time.
Lallas filed a voluminous 263-page document (read it here) in state Superior Court supporting Lee’s request for a permanent elder abuse restraining order against Morgan and for the attorney’s appointment as Lee’s legal guardian.
Linda Sanchez, Lee’s former nurse and in-home caregiver, said she witnessed verbal abuse and financial manipulation, both by Morgan as well as by Lee’s 68-year-old daughter, JC Lee, whom the father describes as “a vulnerable woman” who is “an easy target for predators.”
Sanchez says JC “screams terrible, abusive things at her father” and blames him for her problems. The nurse also says that, although she has not witnessed direct physical abuse, “I have noted numerous bruises to the right side of Mr. Lee’s body which were unexplained.”
“Mr. Lee has told me privately that he is giving up, after his daily harassment, and that he believes he has nothing left to live for but to ‘go to sleep’ and ‘die,’ ” Sanchez said in her testimony. “As a result of everything described above, Mr. Lee falls into very dark and depressed moods because he doesn’t have the strength or will to fight anymore.”
The legal documents claim Morgan took control of Lee’s business affairs and personal life in February and isolated him from the people Lee was closest to and trusted the most, including his executive assistant of 20 years Michael Kelly.
“I called Mr. Lee to arrange to meet with him but was told by Morgan that he would not come to his office at POW! and I would be required to come to his home,” Kelly said. “I went to his home to meet with him and Morgan and a bodyguard named Leo were present throughout my meeting with Mr. Lee … I was not allowed to meet with Mr. Lee privately.”
Lallas alleges Lee was held hostage in his own home. Morgan hired a security guard to block access to the Oriole Way residence, changed all of Lee’s phone numbers and tightly controlled his communications. “I was not permitted to meet or speak with Mr. Lee,” Lallas said. “The Morgan group also took control of all email communications.”
Morgan was arrested by LAPD on suspicion of filing a false police report, allegedly concerning a supposed break-in incident at Lee’s residence. Out on $20,000 bail, Morgan is due in court on the matter early next month.
At the time of Morgan’s arrest, Lee and his family were granted a 48-hour restraining order against the business manager. Among the various conditions of the order was that Morgan must stay at least 100 yards away from Lee and his home.
The paperwork also states that “Mr. Lee has a large estate worth over $50 million and therefore is vulnerable to financial predators.”