May 29, 2019 Deadline
 

Johnny Depp’s $50M Malpractice Suit Against Ex-Lawyers Sees Trial Start Date Moved, Again

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Johnny Depp’s $50M Malpractice Suit Against Ex-Lawyers Sees Trial Start Date Moved, Again - article by Deadline.com

Johnny Depp’s $50M Malpractice Suit Against Ex-Lawyers Sees Trial Start Date Moved, Again



By Dominic Patten
Senior Editor, Legal & TV Critic
@DeadlineDominic
May 29, 2019 10:21am



photo: 'Facing lawsuits on both coasts, including a $50M defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard, lawyers for the ex-Pirates star were back in court in DTLA today'| (Credits:Shutterstock)





Johnny Depp and his former lawyers have another new trial date. Splitting the difference between what the parties desired, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge agreed Wednesday to move the start of the trial in the former Pirates of the Caribbean star’s nearly two-year-old $50 million malpractice lawsuit against Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman LLP to December 2.

Led by Bryan Freedman, attorneys for the now retiring Jacob Bloom and crew recently advocated moving the already scheduled trial launch from September 16 to next March.

Saying that he is obliged to “get cases resolved within two years,” Judge Terry Green made the call today on a packed morning in the DTLA courtroom, after having to deal with other matters while waiting for one of Depp’s lawyers to show up due to a medical emergency.

Near the top of this morning’s hearing, Green first penciled in a trial kickoff date of November 4. However, in what is now the fourth or even fifth new trial date in the matter, the judge was persuaded by defense attorneys that they need more time because of the apparent reluctance on the part of Depp’s lawyers to hand over vital information in a timely fashion.

The defense cited a need for more time because of the vast paperwork they say they have to delve into in discovery, much of it handed over in the past couple of weeks by Depp’s team, including 1.6 million new documents. In addition, Team Bloom wanted the move due to dozens of depositions, including from Depp himself, they say the multimillion-dollar matter requires them to conduct and examine.

“It’s the ultimate chutzpah for them to show up and say we’re good,” defense attorney Kurt Peterson of Reed Smith told the court. “Our clients would like to get this behind them as well.” Freedman added: “There are new issues that have been brought to this case this month that never existed before …it’s not fair.”

“They played this court and they played the system,” Peterson chimed in.

“These are not new arguments,” Depp’s side responded with a synopsis of recent motions.

“Nothing is going to be gained by hiding evidence,” Green declared, looking at Depp’s lawyer in front of him. “It’s going to come out.”

With more weaves and wobbles than Captain Jack Sparrow walking the plank, this all started back in October 2017 as a spinoff of Depp’s now-settled $25 million lawsuit against TMG, his former business managers.

Promptly hit with a counter-complaint in December 2017 by the firm that represented him for two decades, Depp scored a somewhat shocking win in the case on August 28 last year. On that date, Green sent a shockwave through Hollywood when he granted Depp’s motion to declare invalid the longtime and lucrative oral contingency agreement \Depp had with Bloom’s firm.

The blast radius extended far beyond Judge Green’s courtroom as the deal Depp and Bloom had was an agreement many firms around town squared with clients -0 which meant those other lawyers had to hustle fast to get in writing with their clients in subsequent days.

Last month, attorneys representing the now unfolding legendary Hollywood firm sent out a swath of deposition notices to the likes of former Warner Bros boss Kevin Tsujihara and Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard, whom Depp sued for $50 million for defamation in March. In what is becoming a coven of lawyers, Tinseltown heavyweight attorneys Marty Singer, Patricia Glaser and Blair Berk were also served, as were Heard’s and Depp’s respective divorce attorneys and the actress’ ex-boyfriend Elon Musk.

As all this is going on, another set of ex-lawyers are taking the supposedly financially excessive Depp to court over unpaid fees, and the Oscar nominee just wrapped his last tour as guitarist for the Alice Cooper- and Joe Perry-led Hollywood Vampires, while his big-bucks battle with Aquaman star Heard continues.

First filed in early March in Virginia state court, the increasingly explicit clash between the couple that divorced in 2016 finds Depp in the last few weeks claiming he was the victim of abuse during his marriage to Heard, not the other way around.

Depp said an anti-domestic violence Washington Post op-ed penned by Heard late last year, which never mentioned the CAA-repped actor by name, hampered his ability to secure big-screen work, like a role in Disney’s planned Pirates reboot. In fact, the litigious Depp and his attorney Adam Waldman also proclaimed Heard’s well-covered claims of abuse at Depp’s hand were “an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career.”

Aiming to see the whole matter either dismissed or moved to California, Heard in mid-April countered by filing detailed paperwork of numerous vicious incidents during the couple’s relationship. Married in early 2015, Heard and Depp permanently went their separate ways very publicly three years ago after the former had a temporary restraining order against the latter and they came to a $7 million settlement, which Heard donated to charity.

“I have denied Ms. Heard’s allegations vehemently since she first made them in May 2016 when she walked into court to obtain a temporary restraining order with painted-on bruises that witnesses and surveillance footage show she did not possess each day of the preceding week,” Depp said in a declaration before the Old Dominion court last week. “I will continue to deny them for the rest of my life.”

“The evidence in this case is clear: Johnny Depp repeatedly beat Amber Heard,” said Heard’s lawyer Eric M. George in a statement May 21.

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READ MORE ABOUT: AMBER HEARD | JACOB BLOOM | JOHNNY DEPP

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