(UPDATED with statement from defendants’ lawyer) Johnny Depp looks to be cutting a wider legal swath, now going after his former lawyer while also battling his ex-business managers. In a malpractice complaint filed Tuesday, the Pirates of the Caribbean star is going after Jacob Bloom for $30 million that he says was hauled in improperly in fees and self-dealing related to Depp’s dealings with The Management Group.
“Mr. Depp trusted and reasonably relied on Defendants, as his attorneys, to handle his legal affairs competently and ethically,” says the seven-claim suit (read it here) filed yesterday in L.A. Superior Court against the lawyer and his Hollywood firm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman LLP.
“But instead of protecting Mr. Depp’s interests, Defendants engaged in misconduct for their own financial benefit and violated some of the most basic tenets of the attorney-client relationship, all to Mr. Depp’s serious financial detriment, causing Mr. Depp substantial economic harm,” it adds.
That economic harm includes, according to Depp’s team of attorneys and in tones similar to the actor’s ongoing action against TMG, contingent fees of more than $30 million without a “statutorily prescribed written contract.” There is also taking of “breaches of fiduciary duties, unauthorized taking of Mr. Depp’s film residual and other economic rights for themselves, conflicts of interest, self-dealing, legal malpractice, and clear violations of California law.” Or to put it another way, Depp is saying you worked with TMG to screw me and I’m taking you on along with them now.
“Accordingly, Mr. Depp seeks a declaration that any purported contingent fee arrangement between him and Defendants is invalid, void, and unenforceable, that he is entitled to disgorgement and restitution of all fees paid to Defendants, based on Defendants’ violations of California Business & Professions Code, the Unfair Competition law, other violations of California law, and violations of the California Rules of Professional Conduct,” the 25-page complaint of yesterday asserts.
This latest suit adds to Depp’s personal and professional expenditures and excesses being further out on public display as has been the case ever since the actor first sued TMG in a $25 million lawsuit back in January.
“In light of the longstanding relationship between the Bloom Firm and Mr. Depp, the Firm is extremely disappointed that Mr. Depp has decided to file this lawsuit,” said attorney Kurt Peterson of ReedSmith LLP, who are representing the Bloom Firm in the matter. “The Firm disagrees with Mr. Depp and his counsel on the law and the facts, and intends to defend the lawsuit vigorously,” the statement added. Obviously no longer working with Depp, Bloom reps the likes of Jackie Chan, Jerry Bruckheimer and Nicholas Cage among others.
A rep for TMG said that they had no comment on this latest suit by their former client.
Back at the end of January, TMG filed a cross-complaint against Depp in response to his suit that proclaimed that the actor’s spending habits were the real cause of his apparently declining finances and he owed them over $500,000 in unpaid commissions. As the second of many shots the two sides have taken against each other since, that cross-complaint damningly detailed an opulent lifestyle of homes all over the world, lavish art collections, cars, boats, plus the $3 million Depp spent to launch the ashes of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s out of a cannon in 2005 and the $2 million he pays out every month on day-to-day expenses.