A court battle involving Johnny Depp and his attorney went in the actor’s favor this week as L.A. Superior Court Judge Terry Green ruled that the lawyer should have put their longstanding relationship in writing.
The decision dates back to a lawsuit the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star filed nearly a year ago in which he argued he had spent tens of millions of dollars during a span of almost two decades for representation that was tantamount to a contingency arrangement.
According to Variety, Attorney Jake Bloom filed a countersuit in which he claimed Depp owed him money for services rendered. He also claimed the actor violated their verbal agreement.
That countersuit claims the two parties entered into a verbal agreement in 1999, as reported by Fox News.
Ray Cardozo, who represented Bloom in court, unsuccessfully argued that the relationship was not based on a contingency.
“With a contingency fee, you are speculating on an uncertain outcome,” he said.
He suggested the arrangement was similar to that of an attorney providing services to a small tech company and earning equity in the firm instead of a traditional fee.
“You’re not speculating on an outcome,” Cardozo said, adding that in such an agreement an attorney’s “piece of Depp’s income can fluctuate.”
In his decision, Green found there was evidence of speculation on Bloom’s part, citing the tumultuous nature of Depp’s acting career. He also chided Bloom for not formalizing his contract with his client.
“There’s not a special rule for entertainment people,” he said. “Why isn’t it in writing?”
The judge noted that simply setting the terms of their arrangement would have saved both parties a prolonged court battle.
“Why not have something that memorializes the agreement so we don’t end up in court fighting like this?” Green asked.
[Featured image: Johnny Depp, Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP]