Wilmington Trust Sued by Mennen Heirs Asking $100 Million

Wilmington Trust Co., a unit of M&T Bank Corp. (MTB), was sued by heirs to Mennen Co., maker of Speed Stick deodorant, seeking more than $100 million in damages for investment losses.

Mennen, based in Morristown, New Jersey, and sold to New York-based Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL) in 1992 for $670 million, was founded in 1878. A descendant, George S. Mennen, set up a trust in 1970, according to formerly sealed court papers in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington.

The heirs, including Kathryn Mennen, a granddaughter of George S. Mennen, contend in a redacted complaint that Wilmington Trust took no restorative action as George Jeffrey Mennen, a co-trustee and her uncle, “wrongly dissipated” trust assets through investments in failing businesses.

The case is in the document-discovery stage, with the heirs alleging in papers made public today that the bank produced as evidence “only self-serving legal advice favorable to Wilmington Trust while withholding other legal advice that undercut its position.”

Lawyers Thomas W. Briggs Jr., representing Wilmington Trust, and Jeffrey S. Cianciulli representing the Mennen defendant, didn’t immediately reply to e-mail requests for comment on the suit.

The case is Mennen v. Wilmington Trust Co., CA8432, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware, at pmilford@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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