LOS ANGELES (CN) – Michael Ovitz claims his longtime employee and business partner Peter Levin breached confidentiality and told a third party inside information about Ovitz’s business investments, causing the unidentified third party to sue Ovitz, costing him millions in legal fees.
Ovitz claims in Superior Court that Levin began working for him in 1989 at Ovitz’s Creative Artists Agency, and followed him to Disney in 1996. Ovitz says he hired Levin to work for his investment company, CKE Associates, also a plaintiff in this suit, and made Levin general manager of CKE’s subsidiary, Lynx Technology Group.
In that capacity, Ovitz says, Levin learned that Ovitz had invested in the companies Oingo – later bought by Google – and Ask Jeeves. He says the two parted company in 2001.
Sometime in 2004 or 2005, Ovitz says, Levin breached contract by telling the third party of those investments. Ovitz claims Levin also “made certain false statements” about him to the third party.
Ovitz says he and CKE were already embroiled in a dispute with the third party, involving a CKE investment in the third party’s company, Multi-Accounts LLC. Based on information obtained from Levin, Ovitz says, the third party sued him for denying it the right to participate in the Oingo-Google deal.Ovitz demands compensation for the “millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees and costs” he has incurred, plus punitive damages. He is represented by Eric George with Dreier Stein Kahan.