9:12am PT by Eriq Gardner
'Gossip Girl's' Leighton Meester Prevails Over Her Mother in Court (Exclusive)
The legal dispute between Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester and her mother appears to be over. What started out as a battle over the alleged misuse of the actress' money, and then turned into a dispute over whether Constance Meester deserved compensation for a purported role in helping guide her daughter's career, has suddenly made an abrupt halt. The holidays might be a little less rancorous for the Meester family this year after a judge last week accepted Constance's decision to bow down. As a result, Leighton is being allowed to obtain a default judgment against her mother.
As you'll recall, Leighton Meester first sued her mother in Los Angeles Superior Court in July. In the original complaint, Leighton said that she had sent her mother $7,500 each month to help with her brother's medical expenses, but that Constance had used the money for cosmetic procedures, including plastic surgery, hair extensions and Botox.
A few days later, Constance hit back with counterclaims totaling $3 million in damages. Mommy Meester claimed that she had "sacrificed her happiness" to support Leighton's acting career and that her daughter had breached various management, support, and settlement agreements. The money that was being sent her way was contractually owed, according to Constance.
Specifically, Constance argued that she was the president of Intentional Productions, Inc., which rendered Leighton's acting services. She noted her signature was on documents that established the company. Additionally, Constance told of an oral agreement that she had made with Leighton's attorney, Marty Singer, to testify in prior litigation between the actress and her former talent agency, Abrams Artist Agency. For her testimony, Constance alleged that she was promised $10,000 per month in support payments.
In August, the daughter filed a demurrer that ridiculed her mother's claims.
Leighton said that IPI was merely a "loan-out" company for employment purposes and wasn't indicative that Constance was playing the role of manager. The Gossip Girl star also said that the supposed oral contract made by Singer was void because it's illegal to bargain for testimony to win a lawsuit.
Finally, daughter said that mother couldn't sue for "dependent adult financial abuse" because if it was really the case that the traditional mother-daughter roles had been flipped, Constance would require a guardian to sue on her behalf.
Constance has now backed off.
Last month, her attorneys told the court that Constance no longer wishes to defend against Leighton's claims. The mother also submitted a motion to withdraw her Answer and all the claims alleging how she had sacrificed her happiness for Leighton's good.
On Wednesday, a judge made an order striking Constance's answer to the lawsuit and letting Leighton obtain a default judgement. In Leighton's' original lawsuit, the actress sought a declaration there was no contractual relationship between the parties. The mother will soon no longer be able to claim any of those Gossip Girl riches.
E-mail: [email protected]