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A New York state judge tossed a lawsuit on Tuesday brought by ousted Universal Music Group executive Charlie Walk against New York attorney Marc Kasowitz for allegedly botching negotiations over his departure after being accused of sexual harassment.
New York Supreme Court Justice Andrew Borrok, granting Kasowitz’s bid to dismiss the case, said Walk’s complaint is an “absolutely outrageous” attempt to sully the reputation of the longtime attorney for President Trump.
Walk, former president of UMG’s Republic Records, claimed in March that Kasowitz misled him into accepting a one-sided settlement with UMG instead of fighting allegations that he sexually assaulted a former colleague while at Sony’s Columbia Records. He alleged that Kasowitz failed to advise him of two arguments that he could have raised in arbitration based on UMG’s threat to fire him for cause and UMG’s failure to maintain the confidentiality of its investigation.
“A reasonably competent attorney could have used these clear and severe breaches to either beat UMG back from firing Mr. Walk or obtain millions of dollars for him in damages, as other wrongfully accused celebrities have done,” reads the complaint. “Instead of a fighter for his client, Kasowitz turned out to be passive and uninformed about the true facts of Mr. Walk’s case, and quickly pressured him to enter into settlement agreement that was not in Mr. Walk’s best interest.”
But Borrok challenged Walk’s characterization of what he was told by his former attorneys at Kasowitz Benson Torres. He said, “This whole thing is a false narrative.”
In moving to dismiss the case, Kasowitz highlighted emails the firm sent to Walk in addition to letters that were sent to UMG raising the allegedly undiscussed legal theories. He told UMG in a Feb. 26 letter that it “must pay Mr. Walk for the damage he has endured as a result of UMG’s actions,” including its failure to keep the fact of its investigation.
Under his 2018 settlement with UMG that was unsealed in May, Walk agreed to walk away from the company in exchange for $1.7 million and nine months of health insurance.
Bryan Freedman, a partner at Freedman & Taitelman representing Walk, said he will appeal the dismissal. He added, “I have no problem if Charlie were to lose in court, but there is a problem in him not being given that opportunity and this ruling continues to deny him that right.”
Kasowitz said in a statement: “Justice Borrok saw this lawsuit for what it is — outrageous and frivolous. Walk’s lawyers should be ashamed of themselves for bringing it. We are considering all of our options for holding them to account.”
The firm did not respond to requests for comment over whether it will be pursuing attorney fees and other costs that were incurred in defending itself from the lawsuit.
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