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Friday, May 21, 2010

Law firm sued by "Farrah's Story" producer responds in Hollywood Reporter blog

Producer sues lawyers in Farrah Fawcett documentary flap

In this new blog at THR.Esq--The Hollywood Reporter's blog about all things Hollywood and legal--a Los Angeles law firm sued last  Friday by Farrah's Story producer Craig Nevius responds to his suit.

“Mr. Nevius has never been a client of this firm," Tom Lambert, managing partner for Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp says. "Since there is pending litigation involving Mr. Nevius, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the specifics of the legal matters being contested. However, we can categorically state that his recent lawsuit against our firm is a totally baseless action brought against us by the adversary of our clients. We will continue to zealously represent the interests of every client of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jason "Jenny Craig" Alexander is sooooooooo copying Suzanne "ButtMaster" Somers

Sitcoms Online blog breaks upfront news , Retroality.TV "Rockford Files" exclusive

Our hard-working buddy Pavan Patel over at Sitcoms Online's excellent news blog has been crazy busy covering all the latest news from the network upfront presentations this week. And yet, despite working overtime to bring us pilot pickup and series cancellation and renewal news, he's kindly managed to give Retroality.TV some generous coverage this month.

Monday, he blogged about my exclusive L.A. Times interview with Stephen J. Cannell, who shared his thoughts recently about David Shore's pilot script for NBC's now-ditched Rockford Files re-imagining. Last Friday, I shared many of his unpublished comments from the Times interview in a blog posting below.

And earlier this month he blogged, Pavan brought his blog's ever-growing audience up to date on Retroality's May cover story (an exclusive Q&A with V creator Kenneth Johnson) and related features (including my upcoming Wellbella magazine cover story interview with Hot in Cleveland's fantastic Wendie Malick). In fact, Mr. Patel has always been a loyal friend to Retroality.TV (and to me!), and we thank him tremendously! He and his exhaustive news blog are inspirations to us here!

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EXCLUSIVE: Explosive New Farrah Fawcett Lawsuit |

EXCLUSIVE: Explosive New Farrah Fawcett Lawsuit |

Oh, what a tangled web of Los Angeles-based litigation.

The legal battles spun off from NBC's controversial documentary Farrah's Story—which played to about 9 million viewers during last year's May sweeps—continue to unfold in Los Angeles County Superior Court six weeks prior to the one-year anniversary of Farrah Fawcett's death from anal cancer at age 62.

Radar Online reports that the documentary's exec producer, Craig Nevius, is suing L.A.-based law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp (MSK), claiming negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. Nevius alleges MSK--which once repped his and Fawcett's joint production company, Sweetened by Risk LLC (SBR)--"possessed an actual conflict of interest" in later repping defendants in litigation the producer brought last year.

Nevius claims that in summer 2008 he and Fawcett fired one of the firm's lawyers, Kim Swartz, for his "lackadaisical and inattentive representation" during the documentary's licensing negotiations with NBC.

Last May, Nevius sued Fawcett's longtime lover, Ryan O'Neal, business manager Richard B. Francis and Farrah's Story co-producer Alana Stewart, alleging the trio conspired to wrestle control of the NBC special away from him while a cancer-ravaged Fawcett lay on her deathbed. Francis, as trustee of Fawcett's estate, countersued Nevius in January, alleging the filmmaker invaded Fawcett's privacy while mismanaging the TV project and her money--claims Nevius has also made against Francis, O'Neal and Stewart.

Fawcett died on June 25, 2009.

"For almost one year, MSK represented and had confidential attorney-client communications with Nevius... regarding SBR, the Program and NBC (who aired Farrah's Story)," Nevius claims in his new suit.

MSK, his filing continues, "failed to exercise reasonable care and skill and acted in negligent manner with respect to their duty of loyalty owed to Plaintiffs, by among other things, taking an adverse position with respect to issues concerning ownership and control of SBR, acting as counsel of record for Francis and O'Neal in the Action, refusing to voluntarily withdraw as counsel of record in the Action and forcing Plaintiffs to pursue a motion to disqualify in order remove Defendants as counsel of record in the Action."

Last September, the Los Angeles County Superior Court disqualified MSK from repping O'Neal and Francis. "MSK cannot take sides in a dispute among [SBR] owners/members, nor be in a position where it must argue the veracity and credibility of its own attorneys," the court ruled. "By representing [Francis and O'Neal], [MSK] is taking sides in the dispute over [SBR]'s ownership and control."

As of this blog posting, Radar reported MSK had not responded to requests for comment.