Max Factor Heir's Mother Sues Lawyer for Alleged Incompetence

The mother of convicted rapist and Max Factor heir Andrew Luster has sued her lawyer, alleging incompetence cost her the $1 million cash bail she put up for her son.

Elizabeth Luster on Thursday sued attorney Joan Lavine in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming her attorney failed to represent her adequately.

Luster was convicted in absentia of drugging and raping three women. He fled the country in the midst of his Ventura County trial and was captured six months later in June 2003 by bounty hunters in Mexico.

Prosecutors said the 40-year-old great-grandson of cosmetics legend Max Factor lured women to his home where he used the date-rape drug GHB to render them unconscious, then videotaped himself sexually assaulting them.

After Luster fled his trial, a judge declared the bail money forfeited. After he was returned to Ventura County, a motion was filed -- and granted -- to have the bail forfeiture lifted and the money returned to the depositor.

A judge, however, denied a request to return the money to Elizabeth Luster, saying she lacked the evidence to prove the money was put up by her, according to court documents.

The judge determined the depositor of the funds was Andrew Luster, and costs and restitution were taken from the money.

Elizabeth Luster said her attorney failed to make "critical arguments" at the hearing. She asked for $1 million in compensatory and general damages, special damages and punitive damages.

Lavine, who said she had not yet been served or seen the lawsuit, said she was "astonished" by the allegations.

"I did a very thorough and commendable job investigating this," Lavine said Friday. "I am satisfied that I represented (Luster) well."

Andrew Luster is now serving a 124-year sentence in state prison.

Details here from the AP via the San Francisco Chronicle.