Now for our Mother’s Day story. There is an interesting property case out of New Jersey where Kobe Bryant is suing his mother, Pamela Bryant, to keep her from selling mementos from his early years at an auction. His mom says that he told her that the items were hers when he left them in his old room. He says that she is lying about ownership and wants to stop an auction despite the fact that she has received $450,000. At least he didn’t try self-help like some other famous or infamous athletes.
The mementos are from his high school and early professional basketball career. It is undisputed that he left the items in his room in the house in New Jersey. His mother insists that he made an oral statement that what was left in her home was hers. As a back up, she could argue abandonment. The New Jersey code states:
46:30C-4. Claiming of lost property.
4. a. A person may claim lost property only after making reasonable efforts to return the property to its owner.
b. If the owner of the lost property does not reclaim it within 120 days of the commencement of reasonable efforts to return it:
(1) The owner of the premises where the property was found may claim title to buried or hidden lost property or to lost property which a trespasser found;
(2) The finder of the property may claim title to lost property in other cases.
c. If the owner of the premises or finder does not claim the lost property, and an action is not pending to determine rights to the property:
(1) Marketable property shall be sold by the clerk of the municipality in which it is located and the proceeds, less costs of sale shall be transmitted to the administrator of the “Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (1981)” (R.S.46:30B-1 et seq.), for deposit in the Unclaimed Personal Property Trust Fund established pursuant to the provisions of R.S.46:30B-74;
(2) Non-marketable property may be treated as abandoned.
Bryant says that his mother admitted to him that the mementos were his and that he never gave her permission to sell them. In a filing, he told the federal court “I confronted her about her false statement that I had given my memorabilia to her . . . I said to her, ‘Mom, you know I never told you that you could have the memorabilia.’ Her response was, ‘Yes, but you never said you wanted it, either.’”
Goldin Auctions is selling various items including two championship rings that Bryant gave his parents after the Lakers won the 2000 title and his 1996 Pennsylvania high school championship ring and sweat suits from Lower Merion High.
With a net worth of $200 million and annual income of some $52 million, it is not clear why he doesn’t fork over the cash to get rid of his Mom and her claim. However, his relationship with his Mom and Dad (“Jellybean Bryant”) is described as icy.
It is nothing like court filings to lay the foundation for a Mother’s Day dinner. Since she is a represented party, does counsel have to be present for the obligatory phone call to Mom? At a minimum, any flowers should be accompanied by an express statement that “this floral gift is not intended and should not be construed as an admission or concession in any pending or planned litigation against the recipient.” Indeed, if Kobe leaves the flowers at the house, can that be used as evidence of past conduct and understandings about the presumed ownership over left or abandoned items?
Source: LA Times