Marvel chairman Perlmutter's wife sues Kasowitz Benson over 'malicious' lawsuit

An empty area of Miami Beach is seen after local authorities closed bars, restaurants and some areas of beaches to the public for precaution due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
REUTERS/Carlos Barria
  • Laura Perlmutter says Kasowitz Benson showed 'conscious indifference' to its actions in related case
  • Lawsuit has origins in dispute over Florida tennis court

Dec 21 - The wife of Marvel Entertainment LLC chairman Isaac (Ike) Perlmutter has filed a lawsuit accusing the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres of maliciously prosecuting a lawsuit that falsely claimed she was behind a hate mail campaign against a Palm Beach neighbor.

Laura Perlmutter filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, three months after a judge dismissed a long-running lawsuit by Toronto businessman Harold Peerenboom that claimed the Perlmutters were behind the mailings.

The new lawsuit accuses the firm and a former partner, Michael Bowen, of "a conscious indifference to the consequences of their actions," which included seeking Perlmutter's criminal prosecution based on DNA test results that falsely implicated her.

"Wherever there was clear evidence pointing away from Laura Perlmutter during this extended wild goose chase, Kasowitz Benson and Bowen ignored it," Jay Eisenhofer, her lawyer at Grant & Eisenhofer, said in a statement.

New York-based Kasowitz Benson, founded by well-known litigator Marc Kasowitz, in a statement from a spokesperson called Perlmutter's claims "frivolous," "meritless" and "false."

Bowen, now a partner at Glenn Agre Bergman & Fuentes, did not respond to a request for comment. Peerenboom, who was not named as a defendant, could not be reached for comment.

The case stemmed from a dispute over about the management of the tennis court at a Palm Beach complex where Ike Perlmutter, who sold Marvel to The Walt Disney Co for $4 billion in 2009, and Peerenboom lived.

During the dispute, Mr. Perlmutter in 2011 circulated news articles about Peerenboom to members of the complex's community.

Then beginning in 2012, thousands of anonymous letters began circulating as part of a wide-ranging hate mail campaign falsely accusing Peerenboom of, among other things, sexual assault.

Peerenboom blamed the Perlmutters and sued in 2013 for libel. To support his case, Peerenboom cited DNA evidence that he claimed linked Laura Perlmutter to the hate mail.

In Tuesday's lawsuit, Laura Perlmutter said her DNA was "illegally obtained" during depositions in litigation related to the tennis court.

She said Peerenboom and Kasowitz Benson disseminated the DNA results, which were based on a contaminated sample, to media, police and the court despite knowing it was obtained through illegal means.

In September, Circuit Judge Cymonie Rowe dismissed Peerenboom's 2013 libel case after concluding there was "no evidence whatsoever that the Perlmutters had any hand in those mailings."

She instead said the evidence "richly establishes" that a former employee of Peerenboom's company who was fired in 2011 and one of his friends was behind the hate mail campaign.

The case is Perlmutter v. Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, 15th Judicial Circuit Court, Florida.

For Perlmutter: Jay Eisenhofer and Kelly Tucker of Grant & Eisenhofer; and Joshua Dubin

For Kasowitz: Unknown.

(This story has been updated with a comment from Kasowitz Benson Torres.)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at