NEW YORK, May 31 (Reuters) - The daughter of the late
designer Oleg Cassini is entitled to one-quarter of her father's
estate under the terms of a 1953 divorce agreement, a New York
appeals court ruled on Wednesday.
The Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed a
lower-court ruling that Christina Cassini is entitled to split
with her sister 50 percent of their late father's estate, which
has been estimated to be worth as much as $52 million, according
to court documents.
Cassini, a famous fashion designer who outfitted the likes
of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, died in 2006 at the age of 92.
Christina is one of two daughters Cassini had with the actress
A Hollywood starlet who rose to fame in the 1940s, Tierney
was married to Cassini between 1941 and 1952. Their divorce was
finalized in California in 1953 and stipulated that Cassini was
to split half of his estate equally between the couple's two
daughters upon his death.
In May 2007, following Cassini's death, Christina filed a
claim in Nassau County Surrogate's Court arguing that she was
entitled to 25 percent of her father's estate under the divorce
agreement. She did not challenge the validity of the will.
Cassini's widow and third wife, Marianne Nestor Cassini,
took the position that the divorce decree was unenforceable. She
said the decree was overridden by Cassini's will, which left
Christina and sister Daria $1 million and $500,000,
respectively. Another $1 million was left to Cassini's brother,
and the balance of the estate was left to Marianne Cassini.
In a series of rulings, the Surrogate's Court validated the
Cassini daughters' claims under the divorce pact.
Marianne Cassini appealed those rulings, but the Second
Department upheld that the 1953 California agreement.
Attorneys for Christina and Marianne Cassini did not return
requests for comment on Thursday.
The case is In the Matter of Oleg Cassini, in the Supreme
Court of the State of New York: Appellate Division, Second
Department, No. 2011-3117.
For Marianne Nestor Cassini: Charles Kaplan and Gregory Lahr
For Christina Cassini: Karen Johnson-McKewan, Joshua
Rosencranz and Agnes Dunogue of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.
(Reporting by Jessica Dye)
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