Dueling Lawsuits Over Jessica Simspon Line

     MANHATTAN (CN) – A man accused of trying to extort $12 million from Jessica Simpson slapped the former pop star with his own fraud claims across the country.
     Simpson’s father, Joseph Simpson, lobbed the extortion claims Tuesday against Jeffrey Bowler in Manhattan Supreme Court.
     Bowler meanwhile hit the celebrity dad with a lawsuit of his own in Los Angeles Superior Court, filed the same day.
     Joe Simpson, who used to act as his daughter’s manager, claims that Bowler harmed his reputation by threatening to sue based on an “astonishing” claim that Simpson owed Bowler a 10 percent commission from the sale of the majority interest in With You Inc., a company created by the Simpsons to house Jessica’s intellectual property holdings.
     Making good on that threat, Bowler’s lawsuit seeks damages for fraud and breach of oral contract related to a finder’s fee he is allegedly owed for the sale of the Jessica Simpson Collection.
     With You Inc. and Simpson’s current manager, David Levin, joined Joe as plaintiffs to the New York complaint.
     They say Bowler “had no involvement” in the negotiation, closing or initiation of a deal to sell the majority interest in With You Inc. “for a confidential, multi-million dollar sum.”
     A few months after making the deal, Simpson and Levin say they receiveda copy of the lawsuit that Bowler and his lawyer were threatening to file.
     They insist that the transaction is separate from one about which they met with Bowler years before.
     Bowler’s “wrongful” accusations of “purported fraud” were borne of a commission offer Joe Simpson says he made to him in 2010 “regarding a potential licensing and/or endorsement deal for [Jessica’s] makeup product lines,” not for the sale of With You Inc.’s assets, according to the Manhattan complaint.
     That offer made to Bowler “died on the vine,” however, Hoe maintains, saying it fizzled out without a contract because Bowler failed to find a third party “willing to enter into a makeup license or endorsement agreement with With You Inc.”
     Five years later, Simpson says, he received the “threatened extortionist complaint” – a lawsuit that had been written but not yet filed – from Bowler and his lawyer claiming that he owed them a $12 million commission for the meeting that never produced a deal.
     Emphasizing Bowler’s failure to identify a written agreement, Joe Simpson scoffs that his legal adversary is relying “on an alleged oral contract … as the sole basis for claiming [a] seven-figure amount.”
     The Manhattan lawsuit says Bowler and his attorney claimed in the legal document they sent Simpson and Levin that “Joe Simpson entered into an oral agreement to pay [Bowler] a finder’s fee of 10 percent of the sale price of the Jessica Simpson Collection to any company which [Bowler] found for him and which ultimately agreed to purchase The Collection.”
     Simpson and Levin maintain that that statement “is far too vague” to constitute an enforceable agreement, and ask the court in their lawsuit to issue a declaration stating that they had no binding contract with Bowler and did not commit fraud as he alleged. They also request that the court declare that any oral agreement they did have with Bowler was solely for the purpose of makeup licensing, and is “therefore immaterial” to their recent sale of Jessica’s intellectual property portfolio.
     They also seek unspecified damages against Bowler for defamation, claiming that his accusations “materially tarnish” their “professional reputations” as a talent manager and a business manager, respectively.
     Joe Simpson and Daniel Levin are represented by Manhattan attorneys Charles Grimes and Michael Patrick.
     Bowler’s lawsuit names both Joe Simpson and Levin as defendants, as well Jessica’s mom, Tina; her sister, Ashlee; and the Jessica Simpson Collection.
     Bowler’s attorney, Gregory Smith, could not be reached for comment.

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