The widow of Philadelphia and Boston magazine publisher D. Herbert Lipson claims in a suit that her husband’s children from a previous marriage have wrongly withheld $1.6 million in death benefits owed to her.
Carol Lipson claims in a suit that her husband’s publishing company, Metro Corp., has failed to pay her a $1 million benefit. In June 1997 Herbert Lipson signed the agreement calling for the corporation to pay her that sum on his death, and to pay for her health insurance, but the company has refused to do so, the suit claims.
The same agreement calls for the company to pay Herbert Lipson’s longtime executive assistant, Irene Mueller, $25,000, an obligation the company has honored, the suit claims.
In addition, a 1997 prenuptial agreement between the Lipsons calls for his estate to pay her another $600,000 on his death, but the estate has refused, her suit claims.
D. Herbert Lipson died at age 88 in December 2017. His company published Boston Magazine in addition to Philadelphia Magazine. From 1984 to 1990 the company also published a business magazine, Manhattan Inc.
Carol Lipson, who lives in Margate, filed the suit in Atlantic County Superior Court on Oct. 3. The defendants are Metro Corp. Holdings Inc., the estate of D. Herbert Lipson, former Dechert chairman Barton Winokur, and David Lipson, Sherry Litwer and Debra Claremon, the son and daughters of D. Herbert Lipson.
Winokur and D. Herbert Lipson’s three children are the co-executors of his estate. The three Lipson children also control Metro Corp., the suit claims.
The suit brings claims of breach of contract and, in the alternative, unjust enrichment, against Metro Corp. and the estate; and claims of breach of fiduciary duty against the co-executors.
Lawyers for Metro Corp. removed the suit to federal court in Camden on Nov. 2. Metro Corp. says in its notice of removal that New Jersey is the proper venue. But those claims were fraudulently misjoined with the claim against Metro Corp., the company says in court papers. Metro Corp. is not subject to personal jurisdiction in New Jersey with respect to the breach of Herbert Lipson’s death benefit agreement, the company says.
Metro Corp. intends to file a motion to dismiss, it said in its notice of removal. The death benefit contract is between a business headquartered in Philadelphia and its officers, who worked in Philadelphia. Therefore, any suit related to the Metro Corp. death benefit must be brought in Pennsylvania, not New Jersey, the company said in its notice of removal.
Kerri Chewning of Archer & Greiner in Haddonfield, who represents Metro Corp., declined to comment on the case. The company is also represented by Frank Trapani of Kreher & Trapani in Philadelphia. David Braverman of Braverman Kaskey in Philadelphia, who represents Carol Lipson, also declined to comment, as did Winokur of Dechert.