April 20, 2012 12:58pm PT by Alex Ben Block
David Bergstein Ramps Up Legal Assault With $100 Million Suit Targeting Attorneys
Controversial film financier David Bergstein has filed a lawsuit against two Los Angeles law firms seeking damages of at least $100 million “for aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty” by his former in-house attorney Susan Tregub.
The suit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court on Bergstein’s behalf by attorney Alex Weingarten, charges that four different lawyers used confidential information about Bergstein and his companies that was provided by Tregub while she still represented Bergstein “to launch a litigation assault against Bergstein and his affiliated entities on behalf of David Molner and Aramid Entertainment Fund Limited. “
The defendants are Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, Levene Neale Bender Yoo & Brill L.L.P., Daniel Rozansky (a Stroock partner) and David Neale, Irving Gross and Beth Young (all Levene Neale partners).
“Defendants used the confidential information provided by Tregub to file several lawsuits, initiate involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against Bergstein-affiliated entities, and disparage Bergstein repeatedly in the press and with other entertainment industry players,” according to the legal action.
“Ignoring their own and Tregub’s ethical obligations, “ Bergstein alleges, “Defendants solicited Tregub for confidential and privileged information about Bergstein and his affiliated entities starting in 2009. Defendants thereby encouraged Tregub to breach her fiduciary duty to and contract with Bergstein and his affiliated entities.“
As a result of the lawyers' actions, says the suit, “Bergstein and his affiliated entities suffered substantial economic harm and loss of revenues. The bankruptcy proceeding interfered with Plaintiffs’ ability to sell film rights they owned, obtain financing for their other ventures, recoup their investments in separate businesses, and participate fully in the 2010 sale of Miramax.”
Bergstein is involved in a separate lawsuit against Tregub, which is currently scheduled to begin a trial in L.A. Superior Court next week on April 25.
He claims Tregub began working for Molner and Aramid against him while she was still his attorney, without his knowledge or consent. Tregub has denied she worked for anyone until after she parted company from Bergstein and has said she did not do anything illegal or unethical.
Bergstein is involved in several lawsuits. On April 9 he filed suit against Miramax and several of its key investors charging that they have not paid him millions of dollars he is owed for orchestrating the acquisition of the company from Disney. In that case, Bergstein says he is owed of just over $6 million plus 3.3 percent of the company.
Bergstein also is active in the legal action brought against six companies he controlled in the film business, which were forced into involuntary bankruptcy nearly two years ago after a group of creditors, led by Molner, brought the case to federal court.
We've reached out to the lawyer defendants for comment and will update with a response.