The two sons of late actress Audrey Hepburn have stepped up their legal fight over their mother's memorabilia.
The Breakfast at Tiffany's star left a treasure trove of items, including jewellery, hats, scarves, scripts and trophies, to her children, Sean Ferrer, from her marriage to Mel Ferrer, and his half-brother Luca Dotti, from her marriage to Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti, when she died in 1993.
Ferrer and Dotti previously battled it out in court over how the items should be divided and now have equal ownership of her memorabilia, some of which is frequently exhibited around the world to raise funds for their non-profit organisation, now called the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund, which they set up in 1993 in their mother's memory to help various children's charities.
Dotti, the fund's chairman, and officials of the fund are now suing Ferrer, who stepped down from the board in 2012, for interfering with the charity's right to use Hepburn's memorabilia or likeness for fundraising.
In a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday (08Feb17), the charity's attorney Steven E. Young wrote, "Ferrer seeks to entirely control, limit and prohibit the Fund from using the Hepburn IP (intellectual property) unless it is willing to pay a significant portion of the fundraising proceeds to a charity of Ferrer's choice, or to simply preclude the Fund from utilising the Hepburn IP altogether."
They claim if a court doesn't intervene and stop Ferrer, the fund's ability to hold exhibitions and raise money for their children's charities will be jeopardised or stopped altogether, which will "irreparably damage the sterling reputation of the late Audrey Hepburn."
They want a court to rule that fund officials have an unlimited right to use Hepburn's memorabilia without Ferrer's permission. They are suing Ferrer for intentional interference of contractual relationships and are also seeking damages and an injunction to stop him from interfering with any of the fund's partners and creating domain names relating to Hepburn memorabilia.