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Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Wayans Brothers Say Lawyers Aren’t Funny

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Keenan and Shawn Wayans claim in court that lawyers not licensed in California gouged them for tax services by secretly launching multiple California companies on their behalf.

The Wayans brothers sued S&E Azriliant P.C., and Evan B. and Sidney W. Azriliant on Oct. 21, in Superior Court.

The Wayans claim that the Azriliants approached them in 2005 with "an offer to provide legal services and advice" to the brothers on tax and business affairs in California.

"At no time did Evan Azriliant or anyone else on behalf of defendants ever inform Wayans that Evan Azriliant and the attorneys at AzriliantPC were not licensed to perform legal services in the State of California," according to the complaint.

The Wayans say they agreed to let Evan Azriliant and S&E Azriliant prepare "specific income tax returns."

The brothers say they never entered a written agreement for the services, nor did they agree or authorize the defendants to create business entities in California or elsewhere on their behalf.

"Nonetheless, without authorization of approval, Evan Azriliant and AzriliantPC proceeded to form a number of California limited liability companies and other California entities, purportedly on behalf of [the] Wayans," the complaint states. "Neither Evan Azriliant nor AzriliantPC were licensed to perform such services."

The entities created, the Wayans say, were neither "necessary nor appropriate" or in their best interest.

The Wayans claim: "Evan Azriliant and AzriliantPC formed the entities for the purpose of enabling Evan Azriliant, Sidney Azriliant, and AzriliantPC to charge more money to prepare taxes on behalf of [the] Wayans, because defendants would then be able to charge [the] Wayans additional monies to prepare income tax returns for the various business entities that AzriliantPC had created."

Despite having performed legal services without a California license, and without "authorization, agreement or approval," the defendants demanded in October that the Wayans pay $42,025 for the entities formed from 2005 to 2011, according to the complaint.

New York-based S&E Azriliant was dissolved by proclamation in 2011, and is no longer qualified to do business in The Empire State or any other state, according to the lawsuit.

Among a host of credits, Keenan and Shawn Wayans created the "Scary Movie" film franchise and directed, wrote, produced and acted in comedic flicks "White Chicks" and "Little Man."

Keenan and brother Damon, who is not involved in the lawsuit, launched the sketch comedy show "In Living Color," which propelled the careers of actors Jim Carrey and Jamie Foxx, in 1990.

Neither party was available for comment before press time.

The Wayans seek declaratory judgment that they are not liable to the Azriliants for services allegedly performed, that the Azriliants were never authorized to perform the services, and that the Azriliants' claims for payment are time-barred.

The Wayans are represented by Kevin Shenkman with Shenkman & Hughes, of Malibu.

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