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Caretaker Wins Lawsuit Against Irvine Heir

November 14, 1998

IRVINE — Philanthropist and heiress Joan Irvine Smith has been ordered to pay $86,000 to a caretaker who filed an age discrimination suit after he was fired from her Virginia estate.

Floyd Litten, now 83, worked on Smith's estate in Fauquier County, Va., from 1972 to 1995. The order came in a ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court, affirming a lower court decision.

Smith is the granddaughter of James Irvine II, founder of the Irvine Co., one of the biggest landowners in Southern California. She is known for her endowments to charities and the arts.

Smith's lawyers argued that Litten was fired for not working required hours, as well as selling walnuts that grow wild on the property.

Smith argued that the produce belonged to the estate, according to the court's ruling.

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