Depp sued attorney Jacob Bloom and others in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday, claiming Bloom engaged in self-dealing and misconduct that enriched himself and other business partners to the financial detriment of Depp. The actor says $32 million due to him in residuals earned from films such as Pirates of the Caribbean has been lost as a result of the misconduct.
“Instead of protecting Mr. Depp’s interests, defendants engaged in misconduct for their own financial benefit and violated some of the most basic tenets of the attorney-client relationship, all to Mr. Depp’s serious financial detriment, causing Mr. Depp substantial economic harm,” Depp says in the lawsuit.
The suit comes on the heels of another lawsuit filed by Depp in January, where he said his former business managers TMG engaged in serious misconduct that cost the actor approximately $50 million.
TMG hit Depp with a countersuit claiming that Depp’s own spending habits, including $75 million on houses, $300,000 spent on wine every month and the purchase of an $18 million yacht led to the actor’s financial trouble, and not mismanagement by the company.
Judge Teresa Beaudet dismissed a portion of that countersuit in July, saying the above-mentioned spending habits had no bearing on whether the company illegally profited off of Depp.
Depp says TMG collected tens of millions of dollars in contingency fees, all based on an oral agreement, which eventually led to Depp being unable to meet a loan payment.
The loan payment figures heavily into the latest suit by Depp, against Bloom and his law firm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman LLP.
Depp says his lawyers arranged a $19 million hard money loan with a financial group called Grosvenor Park Media to benefit themselves at Depp’s expense.
Hard money lending operations, which are legal in California, often involve lending sums at interest rates much higher than conventional loans from reputable banks. They are used by individuals who have difficulty getting conventional loans at such banks.
But Depp’s present lawyers, Frederick Levin and Ali Abugheida of the LA-area firm Buckley Sandler, said his old attorneys arranged a hard money loan not because Depp couldn’t get money from a bank, but because Bloom sat on the board of Grosvenor Park and stood to benefit financially and professionally from the transaction.
“Defendants and TMG structured the loan – without the legally required disclosures to Mr. Depp – as a vehicle to provide themselves with immediate priority to millions of dollars of voidable contingency fees tied to the success of Mr. Depp’s film residuals,” Depp says in the complaint.
Depp and his present attorneys say that Bloom had the ethical responsibility to alert the actor to the fact he was signing a loan agreement that had unfavorable terms, particularly when other more favorable avenues were open.
“By providing themselves with these benefits at their clients’ expense without the legally required disclosures and required client informed consent, defendants breached their duty of care, breached their duty of reasonable communication, engaged in egregious self-dealing and breached their duty of loyalty,” Depp says in the complaint.
The hard money loan has cost Depp millions of dollars, his present attorneys say.
When reached on Wednesday, a representative from Bloom’s office said the lawyer “does not return phone calls from reporters.”
Depp says Bloom and the law firm also failed to disclose other assorted fees they have charged Depp since they began their business partnership in 1999.
Depp’s seven claims include legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty.
Bloom and his Hollywood firm represent other stars such as Jacky Chan, Jerry Bruckheimer and Nicholas Cage.