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Interestingly, the suit, filed by Century City’s Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard & Shapiro, claims the firm represented Stewart as litigators for more than 20 years on at least 19 different matters without once obtaining a signed retainer agreement.
Really? That’s pretty amazing. Talent dealmakers, who typically take a percentage of a client’s earnings, routinely fail to get signed retainers. But litigators, who generally work on an hourly fee basis, almost always spell out the terms of the representation in a contract the client must sign.
For whatever reason, that never happened. Now the Glaser firm says it repped Stewart and his loan-out company Annoyances, Ltd in three cases from March 2001 through December 2007, and it wants to get paid. The cases:
- A long-running contract dispute between Stewart and the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas stemming from the cancellation of a 2000 concert. The firm says it sent bills to Stewart’s business manager/deal lawyer Barry Tyerman, who paid $1.2 million on the matter but has failed to pay the remaining $2.19 million.
- A 5-year case against Stewart, Tyerman and two others brought by a concert promoter for fraud, interference and other claims. That litigation went to trial and an appeal. Stewart allegedly paid $412,938 in fees but still owes $960,345 on the matter.
- A 2-year case brought by RKO Pictures against Stewart for trademark infringement and other claims. That case went to mediation and Stewart paid the firm $100K but still allegedly owes $158,955.
The firm claims Stewart agreed orally to pay the fees even though there was never a written contract.
“For more than 20 years and over the course of 19 different matters, defendants raised no objection to the absence of a retainer agreement,” the complaint says. “Defendants accepted plaintiff’s billable rates by paying those bills.”
The 5-count complaint demands $3,309,871.34 plus interest and costs. The firm is repped by Jonathan Cole and Vincent Green of Nemecek & Cole in Sherman Oaks.
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