A lawsuit brought by late movie director John Singleton’s ex-girlfriend, seeking a share of his film residuals, has been dismissed by a federal judge.
According to court documents obtained from RadarOnline, Vestria Barlow’s lawsuit against Sheila Ward, who was appointed as the administrator of her late son’s estate after his passing in 2019, was rejected.
The beneficiaries of John Singleton’s estate consist of his seven children: Justice, Selenesol, Hadar, Massai, Cleopatra, Isis, and Seven. Barlow, who shares two children with Singleton, accused Ward of fraudulent activities.
In her complaint, Barlow asserted that she aimed to recover damages for the defendants’ alleged “knowingly and intentionally failure and refusal to pay past and ongoing royalties, residuals, and compensation for the use of the plaintiff’s intellectual property in films, television programs, videos, and other streaming services.”
Barlow, in court documents, claimed that she had collaborated with Singleton on various projects since 1998, including films such as “Poetic Justice,” “Higher Learning,” “Woo,” “Rosewood,” “Shaft,” “Baby Boy,” “Hustle & Flow,” “Black Snake Moan” and many others.
She also contended that she had contributed to his popular Hulu series “Snowfall.” Barlow demanded compensation amounting to $15 million, citing financial loss, humiliation, emotional distress, anxiety and stress.
In response, Singleton’s mom requested the court dismiss the case, arguing that she had no connections to the state of Louisiana, where Barlow had filed her lawsuit.
In a recent ruling, the court favored Barlow, leading to the dismissal of the case. As initially reported by RadarOnline, Ward emerged victorious in a separate legal dispute involving Singleton’s daughter, Cleopatra.
Cleopatra had sought a monthly four-figure sum for her education, receiving $2,700 per month for tuition. Ward, however, contended that Cleopatra had graduated in 2021 and no longer required the funds, as Cleopatra claimed to be enrolled in online classes. Eventually, the judge ruled in favor of Ward, discontinuing the allowance.
Prolonged and Tense Legal Battle
Tensions remain high between Singleton’s family members since the director’s passing as various parties contest the distribution of assets and residuals.
When Singleton died in 2019, his estate was valued at $6.8 million. Assets in the estate included a home in Los Angeles, a 1999 Lexus, a 2003 Mercedes-Benz vehicle, and a 2012 sailboat. In addition, he owned a 70 percent interest in Crunk Pictures, LLC, and was the owner of New Deal Productions, which was valued at $3.2 million.
As Finurah previously reported, the profits from the sale of Singleton’s Miami property valued at $244,453.35 went to Cleopatra.
The distribution of assets following Singleton’s death after he was taken off life support from a stroke led to contentious family disputes. With only a will and no trust in place at the time of his passing, Singleton’s estate was required to undergo probate court proceedings, as reported by Forbes. Singleton’s mom initiated the probate proceeding and petitioned the court to validate his 1993 will. In her legal filing, Ward identified her son’s heirs as his five acknowledged children and two minor daughters, each referred to as an “Alleged Daughter.”
As the proceedings continue, Ward, appointed as the administrator of Singleton’s estate, remains a central figure in managing the distribution of assets among the filmmaker’s seven children.