1:05pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Johnny Depp Settles Dispute With Jake Bloom's Law Firm
Johnny Depp has resolved a lawsuit challenging the some $30 million he paid Bloom Hergott for representing him in transactional matters. A settlement announced by the parties avoids the need for a trial that was scheduled to take place in December.
The actor, who according to court documents across several cases has been beset by financial problems, claimed in his suit that his oral contract with talent lawyer Jake Bloom was void thanks to a California statute that requires contingency fee agreements be in writing.
Bloom argued that Hollywood's percentage fee deals aren't contingency fee arrangements, but a Los Angeles Superior Court judge didn't buy it. Nevertheless, even if the agreement was ripped up, that didn't necessarily mean that Bloom would have to return money. Bloom Hergott pursued its own claim of quantum meruit on the basis that the firm deserved adequate compensation for its services.
The parties pursued all sorts of ambitious discovery in advance of the trial as Depp essentially blamed his ex-lawyer for steering him towards trouble while Bloom Hergott investigated Depp's previously settled legal battle with former managers. But those findings won't be showcased thanks to the resolution.
"The former law firm of Bloom Hergott, with the help of its insurance carrier, has favorably settled the litigation with Johnny Depp for a fraction of his original demand," says attorney Bryan Freedman. "While the firm was confident it would prevail at trial, we are nonetheless pleased with this resolution as it expedites the firm's winding down process and allows it to get off the endless Johnny Depp litigation train."
Adam Waldman, Depp's legal advisor, responds.
"The law firm formerly known as Bloom Hergott, sued by Johnny Depp for a multi-decade fraud and malfeasance spree, and after losing a landmark 6147 ruling, avoided the shame of evidence in a public trial by paying Mr. Depp an eight-figure settlement," he says. "They are correct that eight figures is a fraction of nine figures."
Waldman refers to the fact that Bloom's law firm underwent changes after the named partner — a notable presence in Hollywood — stepped down.
Depp now turns his attention to other legal battles including a defamation fight with his ex-wife Amber Heard; the City of Lies location manager who is suing him over an altercation on set; and yet more ex-lawyers (at Buckley LLP) who are chasing the actor over what's allegedly due.