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A Manhattan judge has ordered the personal lawyers for Michael Bolton to provide discovery to Weil, Gotshal & Manges, which the singer is suing over alleged conflicts of interests arising from a joint representation. Supreme Court Justice Joan A. Madden said attorney-client privilege had been waived under the “at issue” doctrine. The information Bolton’s personal lawyers could provide, she said, might be vital to Weil Gotshal’s case. “Such communications may bear directly on Bolton’s allegations that he was not informed of the potential conflict of interest under the indemnity provisions arising out of [Weil Gotshal's] joint representation,” the judge wrote in Bolton v. Weil Gotshal, 602341/03. Weil Gotshal defended Bolton, co-writer Andy Goldmark, music publisher Warner-Chappell Music and Sony Music Entertainment Inc. against a 1994 lawsuit by the Isley Brothers, a R&B act. The Isley Brothers claimed that Bolton’s 1991 hit “Love Is a Wonderful Thing” infringed on the copyright of their 1964 song of the same name. A Los Angeles jury awarded the Isley Brothers $5.4 million. In his suit against the law firm, Bolton claims Weil Gotshal partner Robert Sugarman was conflicted in representing multiple defendants. Bolton claims Sugarman cooperated with TIG Insurance Co., Warner-Chappell’s insurer, which sought to push the matter to a final verdict rather than settle, triggering an indemnification provision in Bolton’s contract with Warner-Chappell. Weil Gotshal subpoenaed documents and depositions from the entertainment law firm Epstein, Levinsohn, Bodine, Hurwitz & Weinstein on the ground that partners Robert J. Epstein and Joel Weinstein had negotiated and drafted Bolton’s agreements with Warner-Chappell and Sony Music, including the indemnification clauses. Weil Gotshal also claims Epstein, acting on Bolton’s behalf, hired Sugarman and also persuaded TIG to hire Weil Gotshal, citing the indemnification clause as inducement. Epstein and Weinstein and their firm had moved to quash Weil Gotshal’s subpoenas on privilege grounds, but Justice Madden agreed with Weil Gotshal that Bolton had waived privilege with regard to communications relevant to the fiduciary duty claim. The court said information relating to Epstein Levinsohn’s communications with Bolton about Weil Gotshal’s joint representation would be subject to discovery, including any legal advice Bolton received about the potential for conflicts of interest. The judge also ordered Epstein Levinsohn to provide materials relating to the legal effect of the indemnification clauses and how much information was provided to Bolton about the clauses. Bolton was represented in his action against Weil Gotshal by Douglas Capuder of Capuder Fazio Giacoia. Weil Gotshal was represented by Michael Feldburg of Allen & Overy.

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