Judge Rules on Ike Perlmutter's DNA Cross Motion For Sanctions Over DNA Retrieval

Bleeding Cool has been fascinated by the long-running legal fight between billionaire Marvel Chair Ike Perlmutter and Canadian millionaire Harold Peerenboom. The fight was initially over who runs the Sloan's Curve tennis courts in their Palm Beach gates residence, which Peerenboom alleges had its contract handed to a personal friend of Perlmutter, rather than being officially tendered. And that was it. We first reported on this case in 2015 but it goes back to 2011. We initially reported when Peerenboom subpoenaed records from Marvel Comics that he believed would show that Perlmutter, chair of Marvel, and one of the largest shareholders of Disney, launched a vicious hate-mail campaign against Peerenboom. Letters were circulated around the community as well as being sent to Peerenboom's friends, business associates and teachers at a school Peerenboom founded, that accused Peerenboom of sexually molesting a child from Sloan's Curve, and murdering two people, one a former director at the school, as well as stating that Peerenboom believed in Hitler's Final Solution and wanted to attack his Jewish neighbours, including Perlmutter. Other letters were made to look as it Peerenboom had written them himself and were sent to prisoners and their families at random, including Peerenboom himself. It also transpired that Peerenboom procured the DNA of Ike Perlmutter and his wife Laura Perlmutter, at an arranged deposition, in an attempt to compare it to the DNA found on the mailed letters, which led to a countersuit. In 2016, we then reported that the courts stated that they had a right to see Marvel e-mails by Ike, as long as they didn't involve Laura. It then got even deeper, darker and stranger in the years since.

But as to the matter of DNA acquisition, the results of which are unclear, the Palm Beach Circuit Court has just issued an order which may have national implications for the property and privacy interests in DNA and the legality of DNA testing by private individuals without consent.

Earlier this week, the presiding judge of this aspect of the litigation, Judge Cymonie S. Rowe stated

Plaintiff's attorney Douberley admitted that the deposition of Defendants provided an opportunity for Plaintiff to obtain the DNA. Attorney Douberley admitted that obtaining Defendants' DNA through proper discovery methods would take months and Plaintiff did not want the delay of adhering to proper discovery methods. Compellingly, Attorney Douberley admitted that the plan was put in place because Plaintiff knew Defendants would not voluntarily submit to testing. This plan is contrary to our judicial process that requires honesty, transparency, and fairness.

Plaintiff also admitted to the subterfuge. Plaintiff admitted that he knew of this plan and was complicit in and encouraged it. The evidence is overwhelmingly clear that the deposition of Defendants' in the companion case was scheduled, in part, to improperly obtain Defendants' DNA.

As a result, Peerenboom is precluded from any further DNA testing of the Perlmutters. This is the second order finding that the procurement and testing of the Perlmutters' DNA at their deposition was improper. The judge previously presiding over this case, Judge Meenu Sasser, who has passed away since, ruled on this issue in 2017. Her order, which dismissed some of Permutter's other claims/counterclaims provides a more detailed background and comes to a similar conclusion, stating that Peerenboom's "surreptitious taking of the Perlmutters' genetic material and subsequent, unauthorized publication of their genetic information falls directly into this category" of invasion of privacy. She also found that property rights exist in a person's DNA.

Could this have national implications? Either way this whole case is still nowhere near ending as this modern Jarndyce Vs. Jarndyce is about to enter its second decade.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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