Lawyer wins battle for baby grand
Published 19/05/2015 | 14:16
A millionaire American lawyer embroiled in a High Court cash battle with his fifth wife has won a fight to keep his hands on a Steinway baby grand piano.
Richard Fields, 59, and his estranged Russian wife Ekaterina Fields, 42, both wanted the baby grand which was in the New York apartment where they used to live, a judge heard.
Mr Fields had already "relinquished" one baby grand following his third divorce and did not want to lose a second, Mr Justice Holman heard. A barrister representing Mr Fields said the baby grand would cost about 100,000 dollars - around £64,000 - to replace.
The arguments struck a chord with the judge.
Mr Justice Holman today said Mr Fields had owned the piano before the couple married and should keep it and it should not be shipped to London, where Mrs Fields lives.
Mr and Mrs Fields are arguing over who should get what following the collapse of their marriage, at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
He has been told that the couple were married for about a decade, have two children and disagree over the division of assets worth around £6 million.
The judge is expected to announce his overall decision later this summer.
He has also heard that the dispute could cost the couple more than £1 million in legal bills.
Mrs Fields has told reporters outside court that she was a model and a former "Miss World University".
Mr Justice Holman had asked about Mr and Mrs Fields' piano-playing abilities.
He was told that Mr Fields did not play.
Mrs Fields said she was an "amateur" - and indicated that she could not "manage" a Beethoven sonata.
"Assuming it was his before the marriage," said Mr Justice Holman.
"I am just not going to say that the piano ought to be shipped from New York to England."
The judge added: "She is not going to get the piano."
Stephen Trowell QC, for Mr Fields, had outlined the £64,000 baby grand question to Mr Justice Holman.
He said Mr Fields lost the first baby grand following divorce number three.
"It has particular resonance," said Mr Trowell.
"That wife took the piano from him. He had to relinquish the piano. He wanted such a piano. He went out and bought another such piano."
The hearing continues and is due to end tomorrow.