The law firm Buckley sued actor Johnny Depp on Monday, claiming the star actor failed to pay $348,000 he owes the firm for its work litigating a legal malpractice suit against his previous lawyers.
Buckley said in a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that it spent a year and a half trying to claw back some $30 million from Depp’s former lawyers at Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman. Depp has accused Bloom Hergott of illegally taking contingency fees without a written agreement.
After racking up half-a-million dollars in fees and notching a key victory on Depp’s behalf last August, Buckley said it withdrew from the case in January after Depp decided to trim the number of law firms on his payroll. That left three other firms representing him, court records indicate—Brown Rudnick, the Endeavor Law Firm and Stein Mitchell Beato & Missner.
Buckley said in Monday’s suit that Depp already paid over $180,000, adding that his representative Edward White expressed gratitude for the lawyers’ work and said the firm would be paid in full. But deadlines came and went, first for the first quarter of this year and then for mid-May, the firm alleged.
“Notwithstanding these expressions, to date defendants have not yet paid plaintiff’s outstanding legal fees and costs of $347,919.89,” the complaint said. “As a result of defendants’ breach of the engagement agreement, plaintiff has suffered damages in the amount of the unpaid legal fees and costs.”
In recent years, Depp has litigated fiercely against both Bloom Hergott and his former financial advisers at The Management Group. While TMG settled with Depp last year, both defendants have said Depp’s profligate spending—not their fees—are to blame for his financial troubles, which they said were more significant than one might expect for an actor who commands tens of millions of dollars per film.
In a statement, a Buckley spokesman expressed dissatisfaction over having to sue the firm’s ex-client.
“Given the outstanding litigation result we achieved for Mr. Depp last summer, we were disappointed to have to file an action to collect fees he owes us,” the spokesman said.
Benjamin Chew of Brown Rudnick and Adam Waldman of Endeavor Law, two of Depp’s lawyers, didn’t immediately respond to comment requests Tuesday. Chew brought Depp to Brown Rudnick as a client when he joined the firm from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips last year.
Buckley—known as Buckley Sandler until earlier this year—is representing itself in the case, led by Los Angeles partner John C. Redding.