Bren Simon lashes out over 'wrongfully removed' medical log

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Bren Simon alleges in a new court filing that a former nurse aide for Melvin Simon stole a confidential medical log and unlawfully turned it over to attorneys representing one of Simon's children from a previous marriage.

Attorneys for the widow of the mall magnate say the move is one in a series of "willful and egregious discovery abuses" for which Deborah Simon and her attorneys should be forced to pay unspecified monetary damages. The filing is the latest turn in an increasingly bitter battle over a fortune estimated to be worth about $2 billion.

The filing details how Pervis Dansby, a certified nurse aide who began caring for Mel Simon in December 2005, bought a spiral notebook and logged updates from June 1, 2009, until Mel's death on Sept. 16, 2009. Dansby kept the records—which chronicle Mel's "vital signs, medications and private and intimate activities"—for his "own protection" and that of his fellow nurse aides, presumably so they would not be held liable for any problems.

Dansby late last year shared the 82 pages of records with Deborah Simon and her attorney Richard Smikle of Ice Miller, in what attorneys for Bren say is a violation of federal medical privacy regulations. Deborah in January sued Bren, contesting changes to Mel's estate plan he signed in March 2009, seven months before his death at age 82. The revisions substantially increased the share of his fortune earmarked for Bren.

In the new filing, attorneys for Bren blast opposing counsel for not disclosing sooner they had obtained the medical log. Deborah Simon's attorneys took testimony from Dansby on Dec. 7, 2009. But they didn't reveal to Bren's attorneys that Dansby would be called a witness until Feb. 16, 2010, and didn't share the medical log until March 8, 2010.

"Plaintiffs and their counsel participated and acquiesced in Mr. Dansby's wrongful taking and ratified his misconduct," the filing alleges.

Deborah has yet to file a response to the claims, and Smikle declined to comment. Dansby did not immediately return a phone message left at his Indianapolis home.

The filing appears aimed at damaging the credibility of Dansby, who is expected to offer testimony in support of allegations that Bren treated Mel in what court filings describe as a "mentally and verbally abusive" manner late in his life.

An amended complaint Deborah filed in April casts Bren, 66, as "verbally abusive" during Mel's last months, "regularly screaming and yelling at him, badgering him, belittling him, cursing him, and calling Melvin vulgar names."

Bren's attorneys have called the accusations "vile."

In their latest filings, the attorneys question how Deborah Simon and her legal team have acquired confidential financial records and internal e-mails between security personnel at the Asherwood estate.

They say Deborah "rummaged" through Bren and Mel's offices while they were away, and abused the "unfettered access" Bren gave them to Asherwood after Mel was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and moved back to Indianapolis on Aug. 3, 2010.

"Plaintiffs and their counsel have already shown an inclination to take confidential documents and have had the opportunity to do so," wrote Bren's local counsel, Campbell Kyle Proffitt LLP. "Plaintiffs had both the opportunity and incentive to raid Asherwood, even as they feigned affection toward Mrs. Simon during Mr. Simon's last six weeks of life."

Deborah contends her father was suffering from dementia and didn’t understand what he was doing when he revised his estate plan, boosting the share of his fortune going directly to Bren from one-third to one-half.

The changes also wiped out a portion that was to go to Deborah and her siblings from Melvin’s first marriage—Cynthia Simon-Skjodt and David Simon, the chairman and CEO of Simon Property Group—and left charitable gifts stipulated in prior versions to Bren’s discretion. Bren, who married Mel in 1972, contends the changes fully reflected his wishes.


  • Made my Day
    Never before have I felt so comforted by my middle-class lot in life
  • Log Ownership
    It seems to me that if the nurse purchased the binder and wrote down the information of his own volition, anything that does not directly relate to Mr. Simon's diagnosis or medical treatment should belong to the nurse who is the "author."
  • value medicine
    The society is facing problems with such laws. This has to go legal and itâ??s needed to be sorted at the earlier.The initiative taken for the concern is very serious and need an
    attention of every one. This is the concern which exists in the society and needs to be eliminated from the society as soon as possible.
    Medical Health Blog
  • Re: toldyouso
    just curious, what was the deal between her and wolfgang puck?
  • Greed not no limits
    come on Bren......don't you have enough cash yet.....these are Mel's kids you are trashing...you should be ashamed of yourself.... go back to the trailer court you came from lady
    • Greed is not good
      Come on folks, the man died.

      He was very sick and the wife changed the will to get more money before he died and settle some conflicts with her step children by cutting them out of the will.

      What father would cut off his own children and grandchildren on his death bed by changing a decades long estate plan?

      What business founder would want his wife to sell all his company stock in a fire sale months after he died?

      Hire as many attorneys as you like, it doesn't change the facts.
    • change bren name to gold dugger
      bren you trying your dam to play these games,you not going to win you. you not going get that log book.
    • SEC?
      Are you for real? Like everyone in the world didn't expect Simon's to make a bid for a BK company...that is not insider info, it was speculative at best buying ahead of time....I think you are fishing in the wrong pond.
    • How sad this is...to fight over a man's death
      I think Jim (above) is absolutely right on all accounts. If she had treated Mel the way a wife should treat a dying husband, she would have nothing to hide. The aide is doing the right thing by bringing his records forward. He should not be punished for bringing the truth to light. I hope the Simon's take care of him. Obviously something was amiss if the aide even felt the need to write down records of Mel's personal affairs and how his wife was treating him. Bren was obviously only after Mel's fortune all along. Bren is just an angry, bitter person, and I'm guessing Mel is looking down on all of this with disgust. What goes around, comes around in the end. The fortune rightfully belongs to his children.
    • She was wrong
      It seems to me that if the CNA that took care of Mr. Simon in his last days had to keep notes to prtect himself there was a reason. The reason must have been Mrs. Simon. He saw what she was like and wanted to protect himself and for good reason obviously. I sure hope the courts are in favor of the children.
    • Rich Folk
      99% of the rich folk give the others a bad name.
    • Bren
      Next thing taxpayers will be expected to bail out Bren, too. After all, isn't that what our taxes are for? To bail out multibillionaires and their allies?
    • Hmm....did someone (or the partnership) over at Simon's brokers trade in General Growth stock BEFORE it was announced Simon was making a bid
      I know the answer. Let's see if the SEC does.

      Debbie and David--don't be throwing stones in a glass house.
    • Told you so
      This kind of makes Wolfgang Puck seem like he knew what he was talking about. Debroah should have asked him what Bren was like. He probably is sitting in California laughing.
      • Only attorneys win
        It is going through the courts.

        One side doesn't like the facts, so they attack instead of giving in to the truth.

        Guess which side?

      • How much did the nurse aide make on the deal?
        I hope enought to support himself as he will find it hard to get another job.

        If the records were needed-for any reason-it should have all gone thru the courts.
        • Can they really spend it all?
          It is so disheartening to see a family fight so vilely like this. Really, can any of them spend it all?
        • The truth and nothing but the truth
          Well, it is obvious that something was a miss if the nurse thought he needed to record records to protect his hiney. It most put the Mrs. is true light, as had she done nothing, she should not be afraid of what was recorded. Sounds like she has everything to hide and is trying to find a loophole to protect the guilty and the billions she has stolen from the estate.
        • No secret
          Medical records are public records after one dies. Obviously the records support the daughters claims

          The family needs to settle this soon.

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