Children of Casey Kasem settle lawsuit with widow over his death
Family members of radio personality Casey Kasem have settled dueling lawsuits alleging that the longtime “American Top 40” host was badly mistreated before his death in 2014.
The two sides filed a joint request Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit by three of Kasem’s children and his brother against Kasem’s widow, which claimed her neglect and physical abuse led to his death, as well as a countersuit making similar claims against the plaintiffs that was filed by his widow and another daughter.
The terms of the agreement were not revealed, and attorneys did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
For decades, he was among the nation’s best-known — and ubiquitous — radio personalities, hosting the weekend Top 40 programs that carried him “from coast to coast” and into the homes of millions of listeners eager to find out which pop song had made it to No. 1.
Kerri Kasem, one of the daughters who filed the initial lawsuit, released a statement through a spokesman Tuesday saying she was “distraught and heartbroken over her family and lawyers’ decision to force her into a settlement.”
The first lawsuit was filed four years ago by Casey Kasem’s children from a previous marriage, Kerri, Julie and Michael Kasem, and his brother Mouner Kasem. It was a lingering chapter in a series of heated and often public fights between his children and his second wife, former actress Jean Kasem, that began even before his death at age 82.
The wrongful death lawsuit accused Jean Kasem, who was married to Casey Kasem for 34 years, of elder abuse and of inflicting emotional distress on his children by restricting their access to him before his death.
It alleged that “Casey’s early death occurred as a direct and proximate result of Jean’s neglect and physical abuse.”
Jean Kasem denied all of the allegations. She countersued and alleged that Casey Kasem’s children were motivated by their desire to get his money after he cut them off financially in 2012, and that they had brought emotional distress to her and their father, claims they denied.
The two sides fought bitterly over access to Kasem and control of his medical care before he died in Gig Harbor, Wash., where Jean Kasem had taken him from Los Angeles.
Police and prosecutors in California and Washington investigated his treatment and death and found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Best known as the voice of radio’s “American Top 40” for decades and for his sign-off catchphrase, “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars,” Kasem was also a constant on television as a host of shows and specials and as the voice of animated characters that included Shaggy in the “Scooby-Doo” TV cartoons.
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