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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Courtney Love Blames Lawyer for Daughter Rift

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Courtney Love Cobain sued an attorney, claiming the lawyer wrote a letter to Love's daughter that prompted the then-teenager to get a restraining order against her mother and gain control of Kurt Cobain's image rights.

Love Cobain sued the San Diego law firm Gordon & Holmes and its partner Rhonda Holmes in Superior Court, alleging legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and other counts.

In her lawsuit, Love, 49, says she hired Holmes because she believed her advisers had mismanaged and stolen money from the estate of the Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who killed himself in 1994.

Love claims that Holmes promised, but never delivered, a civil complaint to recover the estate's allegedly stolen money and property.

The reasons given for the failure to file suit were flimsy, Love says in her lawsuit.

She claims Holmes told her someone had broken into her computer and erased a draft of the lawsuit. On another occasion, Love claims, Holmes told her the firm was too busy to work on the lawsuit.

Things took a turn for the worse in 2011, Love claims, when Holmes and her law firm sued the singer, alleging libel and invasion of privacy.

In that lawsuit, Holmes claimed that Love defamed her on Twitter after the attorney insisted that she remain sober while the firm handled her affairs.

Love claims that during discovery in that case, the Dongell Lawrence Finney law firm discovered a 4-year-old letter that Holmes had written to Love's daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, then 16.

In it, Holmes falsely claims that she is Frances' attorney, according to Love's new complaint.

The letter, attached to the new lawsuit, urges Frances to continue her education: "This cruel world has shown time and again it has little tolerance for the 'scholastically-impaired. ...'

"Your Mom assures me you are a disciplined and focused young lady. Your mother boasts incessantly of your genius," the letter states. "She has described for me on countless occasions 'My Frances with the most talented eyes and voice and writing ability and sense of composition I have ever seen.'"

The letter warns Frances that she is the "victim of a very large and very scary conspiracy," and claims that "thieves" hacked into Holmes' personal computers to access her credits cards and personal savings.

"Your Mom tells me the story of what these people did to you when you were only 11 years old," the letter states. "These evil and vile animals had no conscience whatsoever when they caused your life to fall apart at such a young age when they took your horse and home and displaced your family. My God, Frances - you were only eleven years old!!! You were still healing the wounds (and I imagine still are) of your father's horribly painful passing."

The letter, as quoted in the lawsuit, adds: "These people are evil and deserve to pay."

In the April 27, 2009 letter, as cited in the lawsuit, written on law firm letterhead, Holmes writes about her miscarriages, her own husband's and brother's suicides, Love says.

But the letter's claim that Holmes' husband committed suicide within months of Kurt Cobain is "knowingly false," Love says in her complaint.

It adds: "Such subjects were inappropriate for a letter by an attorney to a minor whom she does not represent."

During a deposition in the lawsuit against Love, Holmes claimed that Love had written the letter, the singer claims in her new lawsuit. Holmes then changed her story by claiming she had written the letter based on comments Love had made, Love claims.

"Both statements are in fact false, as Love had no hand at all in writing the Holmes letter," the complaint states.

Love claims the letter persuaded Frances and the managers of the Cobain estate that Love had hired an "unstable and paranoid" lawyer for her daughter.

"This deterioration resulted in actual injury when Frances obtained a temporary restraining order against Love in December 2009," the new lawsuit states.

Love claims that Frances and other trust members forced her to give up control of End of Music, which holds Kurt Cobain's publishing and publicity rights.

Holmes falsely "took sole and complete credit" for the discovery of Cobain's guitars and other valuable property, Love adds in the complaint.

Frances Bean Cobain, 21, is Cobain's and Love's only child.

She is not a party to the lawsuit.

In 2009, a Los Angeles Superior Court placed Frances, then 17, in the temporary guardianship of Cobain's mother Wendy O'Connor and his sister Kimberly Cobain, according to contemporary news reports.

Love was ordered in 2005 to spend 189 days in rehab for violating probation for misdemeanors arising from illegal possession of painkillers, being under the influence of a controlled substance in public, and for assault and battery.

She seeks punitive damages for legal malpractice, emotional distress, and intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage.

She is represented by Richard Dongell with Dongell Lawrence Finney.

Holmes did not respond to a request for comment.

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