The widow of Casey Kasem has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the radio personality’s three adult children from another marriage. Jean Kasem claims that Kerri, Mike and Julie Kasem, along with Julie’s husband and their attorney Troy Martin, perpetrated a “homicidal guardianship scam” and, per a statement, “chemically restrained their father and then killed him to go after Casey and Jean’s financial assets.” Jean is also accusing the Kasem children of harassment and making fraudulent claims of elder abuse as part of their attempts to gain guardianship over Kasem.
Speaking with Rolling Stone, Kerri Kasem denied the claims. “The only homicidal part was her unplugging my father’s IV and feeding tube and leaving the hospital with my dad,” Kerri says. “If a mom delivered a preemie and said, ‘You know what? I’m going to take this baby home. I don’t care what you say’ and the baby died three weeks later, that mom would’ve been brought up on murder charges.”
Kasem died June 15th, 2014 at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington. According to Jean Kasem’s new suit, Kerri picked up her father at his home on June 1st and took him to St. Anthony Hospital, even though there was a hospital one block away. Kasem was accompanied by his personal physician, Dr. Donald Sharman, but was examined at St. Anthony by Dr. Joseph Regimbal, who reportedly cleared Kasem to leave and praised the care being administered to him at home.
However, the suit claims that Kerri Kasem kept her father at St. Anthony for an “unauthorized ‘overnight observation.'” On June 2nd, an attending physician at St. Anthony, Dr. Ramon Basa, reportedly told Jean that Kasem could go home, while a judge also ruled that there was no compelling reason to keep Kasem in the hospital. But when Jean arrived to pick up Kasem, Dr. Basa had apparently changed his mind and Kasem was kept in the hospital.
By June 6th, Jean Kasem and her daughter Liberty were reportedly told that Kasem’s children “‘had already begun the process’ of withdrawing and withholding Casey Kasem’s hydration, nutrition and all proactive medical care, without consent from” Jean or a Washington state judge. Per the suit, Jean and Liberty were only given five minutes to see Kasem before his death.
According to Kerri Kasem, however, Jean was unaware what was going on at the hospital during Kasem’s final days and claims Jean went to a Los Angeles court to ask that Kasem’s nutrition and hydration be reinstated. Kerri Kasem said the decision to let Kasem go without food and hydration was made after three doctors told the family that his organs were shutting down and his feeding tube was backing up.
“The doctors said the hydration would eventually drown him and kill him,” she says. “Or you can make him go peacefully and not give him hydration or food. That was very hard to hear.” She adds: “To hear that we ‘unplugged’ my dad is extremely hurtful and painful.”
Kerri and her lawyer, Troy Martin, also argue that Jean Kasem’s new suit is an attempt to stall a wrongful death lawsuit the Kasem children filed against Jean and Liberty in 2015. “We have confidence that the lawsuit will be dismissed in very short order,” Martin says of Jean’s new filing. “She has done everything that she can to dodge her responsibility [in the 2015 case]. This is nothing more than a tactical maneuver by her to try and evade justice here in California.”
Jean Kasem’s new suit alleges that the Kasem children were able to gain guardianship over their father through a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care document that Kasem signed in 2007 “at a UPS store on Hollywood Blvd., under duress and undue influence.” At the time, Kasem was allegedly without his attorney and on medication while recovering from a recent surgery.
The suit also names Catholic Health Initiatives, a Denver-based non-profit health system. A rep for the non-profit declined to comment.
The 2015 wrongful death suit that Kasem’s children filed against Jean and Liberty in November 2015 reiterated these claims of elder abuse. They also accused Jean of inflicting emotional distress on them. The children claimed they had restricted access to their father as he lay bedridden with dementia and alleged that Jean was negligent with their father, keeping him in hospitals after being discharged and relocating him from a California medical facility to a friend’s home in Washington as his condition worsened. The Kasem children also noted Jean’s decision to bury Kasem in an unmarked grave in Norway as an example of the emotional distress they’ve endured. Jean has denied all elder abuse allegations.
Kerri Kasem and Troy Martin tell Rolling Stone that their wrongful death suit is still ongoing. “It’s just another way for her to delay the wrongful death suit that was put on her,” Kerri says of the new suit. “It’s just very fraudulent. She’s not the administrator of the estate. I am. She claimed that she was. Everything that she claimed that we did was all court-ordered.”