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Comedian Says Lawyers Too Cozy With Netflix

(CN) - Comedian Terry Hodges slapped his former attorneys with a professional malpractice lawsuit claiming they purposefully deceived him to protect their relationship with Netflix, which is also their client.

In a complaint filed in Fulton County, Georgia on Oct. 11, Hodges claims his former attorneys at Gordon & Rees LLP had a conflict of interest when they represented him in a 2015 lawsuit against Netflix.

He goes on to claim that upon realizing a conflict of interest existed, the defendant attorneys maliciously deceived him in the process of abandoning him as a client.

The lawsuit is effectively the second act of a case Hodges brought against fellow comedian Chris Tucker and Netflix for alleged unpaid wages and production rights related to a Chris Tucker live special.

The underlying case claimed Tucker owed Hodges hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and other fees.

Hodges included Netflix as a defendant in an ultimately failed bid to halt release of the special.

It was released on July, 10, 2015.

At the time, Hodges said he and Tucker began working on the project together in 2008. He said he co-wrote and co-produced the special which Netflix purchased for $7 million.

In his latest complaint, Hodges claims he wanted to sue over the money he claims he's owed in February 2015, but attorneys Richard Sybert and Joni Flaherty encouraged him to hold off.

Hodges said his attorneys waited until two days prior to the release of the special to file his lawsuit, and this made it impossible to prevent it from coming out.

At that point, the comedian says, his lawyers said he should amend his complaint to drop Netflix as a defendant and proceed only against Tucker.

Incorporated into Hodges' complaint are emails purportedly exchanged between his attorneys and Netflix executives in which the lawyers appear to discuss both the amending of the complaint and their dropping the comedian as a client.

Hodges says he received a notice from the defendant firm on Aug. 8, 2015, asking out of their contract due to his inability to pay for its services.

It then sent him a bill for $8,381. He originally paid the firm a $10,000 retainer.

"Defendants Sybert and Flaherty opted to protect their client to the prejudice of the other client, the plaintiff," the complaint states.

The firm's counsel, Lane Young of Hawkins, Thackston & Young, said his clients have no comments about the lawsuit.

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