7:35pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Chuck Lorre Hires His Own Lawyers to Fight Charlie Sheen Mess (Exclusive)
Chuck Lorre is bringing on some legal firepower to protect himself from Charlie Sheen. The Two and a Half Men co-creator, whom Sheen blames for getting him fired from TV's top sitcom, has engaged famed Hollywood litigator Howard Weitzman and a team from Santa Monica's Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert firm to handle the dispute, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Weitzman, who sources say was hired by Lorre within the past week, has been in discussions with Warner Bros. lawyers on how they plan to handle the coming legal battle over Sheen's termination from the show. As we reported last week, Warners is being repped by a team from L.A.'s Munger Tolles & Olson firm.
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Sheen attorney Marty Singer told THR on Monday that he plans to sue both Warner Bros. and Lorre personally. Singer claims Warners breached its contract with Sheen by suspending and then terminating the star in the wake of Sheen referring to Lorre as, among other things, a "clown" and "Chaim Levine," during his recent media blitz. Lorre has no contractual relationship with Sheen but Singer has suggested in correspondence with Warners that Lorre would be sued for interfering with Sheen's contract, a separate cause of action under California law.
"Warner Bros. and CBS have conspired with Mr. Lorre in his tortuous and outrageous conduct in permitting him to shut down the show," Singer wrote in a Feb 28 letter to the studio and network.
RELATED: Why Charlie Sheen Was Fired: Legal Letter Calls Him 'Very Ill'?
Sources say Warner Bros. has already asked that the Sheen case be arbitrated privately by JAMS, which has jurisdiction over disputes between Warners and Sheen based on the broad arbitration clause in his contract. It is not clear whether any dispute with Lorre would be included in that arbitration or whether litigation between Sheen and Lorre would be handled separately by a court.
Weitzman has long been one of the go-to lawyers to handle tricky Hollywood disputes. He was on the original O.J. Simpson legal team and has repped everyone from Courtney Love to the estate of Michael Jackson to the Kardashians.
Weitzman was unavailable for comment.