Trial begins in Benson family feud

June 1, 2015
The trial to determine whether Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is competent to make important decisions regarding his franchises begins today in New Orleans.

Benson's heirs are asking that the 87-year-old be declared mentally unfit to manage his affairs.

Legal analyst Chick Foret says it could be a very ugly proceeding.

"Tom Benson at some point is going to go from playing defense to playing offense. He's gonna attack his family members," he explained.  "These relationships will be destroyed."

Legal analyst Tim Meche says the court will use reports from doctors who evaluated Benson.
 
"The medical reports are going to be used, but it's unclear whether or not there will be testimony," he said. "It's unclear whether or not Tom Benson will be forced to testify."

Benson previously announced he was going to leave ownership of the teams to his wife instead of his daughter and grandchildren. His lawyer says they maintain that decision was in the best interest of the sports franchises.

Meche says this is a very unusual situation.

"We don't know exactly what's going to happen because there is no precedent for this time of case," said Meche.

Last week a judge ruled that the proceedings were to be closed to the public, because a person's medical records should not be known to the world. Meche believes that's a stretch.

"It may be proper to prevent the public from seeing some things, like the actual medical reports," said Meche. "But to close all of the proceedings entirely appears to be overreaching."