Press Release
October 29, 2013

Holland & Knight Obtains $2.8 Million Judgment for Renowned Actor Mickey Rooney in Lawsuit Against Stepson for Elder Abuse

Los Angeles, October 28, 2013 - Lawyers from Holland & Knight LLP have successfully negotiated a $2.8 million judgment on behalf of Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney and his court-appointed conservator in an elder abuse lawsuit against Rooney's stepson, Christopher Aber, and his wife, Christina.  The lawsuit alleged that the Abers financially and verbally abused Rooney over a 10-year period, leaving the famed entertainer powerless over his assets and personal life.

Holland & Knight attorneys Vivian L. Thoreen, Bruce Ross, Richard Petty, and Robert Barton represented Mr. Rooney and his conservator, Michael R. Augustine.

Mr. Ross said, "Clearly fame does not insulate an individual from the trauma and neglect of elder abuse, as Mickey Rooney's case vividly demonstrates. We are very pleased to bring this long chapter of abuse by his stepson to an end." 

Ms. Thoreen added, “It has been an honor and a privilege to help Mr. Rooney obtain the justice he deserves.  Mr. Rooney had tremendous courage to come forward with his story and we hope he will be an enduring example to other suffering seniors that they do not have to suffer silently alone.  As this judgment demonstrates, there will be serious consequences for those who abuse our seniors."

The lawsuit was filed in September 2011 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.  Earlier that year, Rooney had been granted court protection from the Abers and a conservator was appointed by the court.  The lawsuit charged the Abers with various causes of action stemming from the elder abuse, along with the misappropriation of Mr. Rooney's name and likeness.  The $2.8 million stipulated judgment brings mostly to an end over two years of litigation for the actor.

Litigation remains pending against the Abers’ insurance company, Fire Insurance Exchange, which has sued Mr. Rooney’s conservator in an effort to avoid paying the judgment.

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