The rapper Lil' Kim has filed a lawsuit against her former attorney for legal malpractice, alleging that the lawyer and his firm provided grossly negligent legal services to her and transferred rights to her brand to his own company.
The rapper originally engaged the attorney to help her secure a fragrance endorsement deal after assurances that he was experienced in celebrity branding and would help her obtain a profitable deal. Instead, the lawsuit alleges, the attorney created a corporation of which he was the general counsel and a primary shareholder in and then transferred the rights to the fragrance to that corporation.
The musician says that although she signed a waiver acknowledging the conflict of interest, she did so because she trusted the attorney and his firm to honor his fiduciary duty to her. A fiduciary duty means that an attorney has an obligation to conduct business for the client in good faith and with a higher degree of care than a non-fiduciary would.
A later agreement again transferred rights to the profits from her fragrances to a third party, this time to a company that shared the same address as her attorney's law firm. Part of the lawsuit alleges that the attorney intentionally misappropriated the singer's branding and trademark rights and collected excessive, unjustified fees in the process. The misconduct caused her serious financial harm.
In addition to the breach of fiduciary duty, Lil' Kim also says that the work her attorney did complete for her, such as drafting articles of incorporation for one of the entities, was intentionally sloppy and not up to a common standard of competent legal work.
Source: Courthouse News Service, " Lil Kim's Attorney Accused|of 'Intentionally-Sloppy' Work," Annie Youderian, March 11, 2013.
Legal malpractice in the entertainment industry can deprive artists of essential income from their hard work and creativity. More information about legal malpractice is available on our California law firm's site.