RadarOnline.com has obtained the latest Farrah Fawcett lawsuit in which the actress’ former business partner, television producer Craig Nevius, accuses one of Los Angeles’ oldest and most prestigious law firms of a major conflict of interest.
Nevius is suing Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp (MSK), alleging legal malpractice and negligence. He is seeking undisclosed general and punitive damages.
In the filing, Nevius details a complex triangle of legal representation that, he claims, is the “direct and proximate” cause of the bitter and ongoing legal feud that has engulfed Fawcett in death.
MSK once represented Nevius and Fawcett’s production company Sweetened By Risk (SBR), the document says.
But according to the filmmaker, the Charlie’s Angels star became “frustrated” and fired the firm, citing “lackadaisical and inattentive representation” as the reason.
Yet when Nevius decided to sue Fawcett’s on-and-off again lover Ryan O’Neal, friend Alanah Stewart and business manager Bernie Francis — claiming he was improperly cut him out of the documentary — MSK agreed to represent the three defendants.
As a result, Nevius is also suing two of the firm’s lawyers, Pagnanelli Karis and Kim H. Swartz.
“It was clear that MSK… possessed an actual conflict of interest in deciding to represent the interests of Francis and O’Neal with respect to the dispute involving Nevius and the future management of SBR (Sweetened By Risk),” the filing says.
“For almost one year, MSK represented and had confidential attorney-client communications with Nevius… regarding SBK, the Program and NBC (who aired Farrah’s Story).”
Alleges Nevius: “Defendants 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.”
The claim was filed last week in the Superior Court of California.
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp has not returned RadarOnline.com’s request for comment.