Donald Trump opened a new front last week in his battle with his former lawyers at New York-based Morrison Cohen.
Already embroiled in a billing dispute, Trump has filed a separate $5 million suit against the firm for listing his name and its prior work for him on its Web site.
In his complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the real estate developer and reality TV star said Morrison Cohen had "engaged in the rank commercialization of Mr. Trump's reputation and unyielding demand for excellence -- all in patent effort to solicit new clients and preserve existing ones simply based on Defendants having represented the world renowned Donald J. Trump."
Trump's lawyer, Stephen B. Meister of Meister Seelig & Fein, said Tuesday the suit was filed after Morrison Cohen ignored a cease-and-desist letter in April, noting that Trump normally received "millions" for the use of his name.
But Morrison Cohen managing partner David Scherl and partner Y. David Scharf, the lawyer at the firm who primarily represented Trump, said Tuesday the suit was filed to pressure them to accept a settlement of their $470,000 fee claim for 15 cents on the dollar.
Scherl said the firm would not back down. "We expect to be paid, no matter who you are," he said.
In the fee dispute, pending in Westchester Supreme Court, Trump claims that Morrison Cohen overbilled him while representing him in a suit against contractors he claimed overbilled him on work on a Trump golf course. Trump was awarded $2 million in the case and also received $1.3 million in attorney fees.
Scharf said Tuesday the firm continued to list the representation on its site because it regarded it as a very successful result, despite its soured relationship with Trump.