Expose Blames Ex-Lawyer for Legal Troubles

     TUCSON, Ariz. (CN) – Bad legal advice forced the ’80s vocal group Exposé to fight a long, expensive battle to control its trademark, three singers claim in court.
     Back in 2007, Crystal Entertainment & Filmworks had sued Jeanette Jurado, Ann Curless Weiss and Gioia Bruno in Florida for control of the Exposé mark.
     The company claimed that its predecessor, Pantera Group Enterprises, had created the original Exposé band in 1984, and that a 2006 agreement had assigned the rights to Crystal.
     A federal judge eventually ruled for the women, finding that they were common-law owners of the name because they had used it publicly and been identified with it since 1986. The 11th Circuit affirmed in 2011.
     Jurado, Weiss, Bruno and Walking Distance Entertainment now seek damages from attorney Peter M. Eichler and his former employer, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon. Eichler died in April, according to an obituary in The Los Angeles Times.
     The new lawsuit in Pima County Superior Court claims that Eichler set them up to be sued though the group hired him to “protect their legal interest in the trademark.”
     “Mr. Eichler’s actions led to an unnecessary, lengthy and protracted litigation with damages in the form of unnecessary attorney’s fees incurred, and which were determined when the judgment became final after appeal,” the complaint states.
     Eichler “was not admitted to practice law in Arizona or Florida,” and he “rendered legal advice without duly investigating the appropriate legal standard,” the singers added.
     “Mr. Eichler engaged in the practice of law, namely interpreting contractual rights, in a jurisdiction he was not authorized to practice,” according to the complaint. “Mr. Eichler engaged in actions with a third party, leading to WDE being sued in Florida District Court in December 2007.”
     Jennings, Strouss & Salmon would not comment on the case on Tuesday, saying that the firm had yet to be served.
     The singers seek damages from Eichler for legal malpractice and from Jennings Strouss for negligent supervision. They are represented by Stephen Weeks.

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