Johnny Depp has scored a legal victory in his lawsuit against a former lawyer after a judge ruled their oral agreement was not valid under California law.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star filed a complaint in October, claiming Jacob A. Bloom and partners at his law firm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman, LLP committed “professional malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment”, while representing him.
In the documents, Depp claimed he hired Bloom and his firm to handle his legal affairs in 1999, but instead of protecting his interests, the lawyers engaged in “misconduct for their own financial benefit and violated some of the most basic tenets of the attorney-client relationship”.
He also claimed Bloom “improperly and negligently collected over $30 million in voidable contingent fees” from his income without a legally binding contract under California law.
On Tuesday, the parties met in court and the actor was granted a motion to declare the oral contingency agreement between himself and Bloom invalid because there was never an official legal agreement.
“I don’t think there are special rules for showbusiness,” Judge Terry Green said. “I don’t see an exception here. At some point we have to comply with the law.”
Bloom subsequently launched a countersuit against Depp, and Judge Green has ruled parts of that case can move forward in a hearing scheduled for next year. However, according to Deadline, the parties are now engaged in settlement talks and will reportedly meet with a retired judge for a mediation hearing in the near future.