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Old 04-04-2009, 12:29 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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Default Mick Claims Legal Malpractice

Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, April 4, 2009

Fleetwood group sues lawyer, firm over legal advice

They say they were given flawed advice in the suit they lost against the BBC.

PORTLAND Legendary rock drummer Mick Fleetwood, Cape Elizabeth accountant Joseph McNulty and three of their business partners have sued a Portland lawyer and his firm in a dispute over legal advice given to the group.

In the suit filed last week in U.S. District Court, the partners allege their former attorney, Paul McDonald of the firm Bernstein Shur, failed to give them proper advice during their drawn-out battle with the British Broadcasting Corp.

During that litigation, Fleetwood and McNulty had claimed they were entitled to distribution rights for hundreds of rare music recordings in the BBC archives including unreleased material by The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Elton John. But they lost the case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court last year.

The new lawsuit claims McDonald never warned the group that they could be personally liable for $4.5 million in legal fees sought by the BBC under British law. In order to get the BBC to back off, Fleetwood and his partners agreed not to appeal the bankruptcy court decision. They now seek unspecified damages from McDonald and Bernstein Shur for negligence and other claims.

The general counsel for Bernstein Shur, however, said there was no negligence or misrepresentation by McDonald.

Peter J. Rubin said Fleetwood, McNulty, Arman Mouhibian, Robert Lieb and Carl Stubner are trying to avoid paying a $910,000 bill they owe Bernstein Shur.

"These are five individuals who lost their case, they owe us a lot of money, and they don't want to pay," Rubin said. "I believe that the documents and other evidence will clearly prove that their claim has no merit."

Back in 2001, Fleetwood and McNulty struck a deal with a division of the BBC. The idea was for Fleetwood, the drummer for the rock group Fleetwood Mac, to get permission from top musicians and bands to compile and release their material from the archives. McNulty, a business manager and accountant, would handle the fine print. The deal was for their company, Bee Load Ltd., to split profits with the BBC.

But the agreement unraveled over the next few years, with each side blaming the other.

Bee Load sued the BBC in 2003 for breach of contract, and McDonald was the lead lawyer on the case. At the time, he estimated the archived material was worth more than $100 million, and Fleetwood and McNulty were entitled to tens of millions in losses.

According to the new lawsuit filed against McDonald, Fleetwood and his partners had racked up $250,000 in legal fees by 2005.

They then signed a new agreement with Bernstein Shur, in which the firm agreed to cut its hourly rates in exchange for a percentage of any damages, if Bee Load were to win. Fleetwood and the others signed on as "guarantors," meaning they promised to pay the fees under the contract.

Michael Waxman, the lawyer now representing Fleetwood and his partners, said all five of his clients specifically asked McDonald one key question: If they signed as guarantors and then lost, could they be held liable for the BBC legal fees?

McDonald told them there was no chance of that happening, Waxman said.

"They all would have said, forget it, shut down litigation, if there was even the remote chance they could be held liable for those fees," Waxman said. Bernstein Shur, he said, misrepresented the guarantees "in order to get my clients to sign."

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:07 PM
OldTimer OldTimer is offline
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Ah, the carefree world of music! Sex, drugs,and rock-n-roll...and multi-million dollar lawsuits. Warms the heart, doesn't it?

Our dear Mick, always the entrepreneur; sometimes successfully, sometimes not so.....
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:15 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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From Yahoo Finance:

Fleetwood Mac Drummer Sues Attorney, Firm Over $4.5 Million in Fees
Amanda Bronstad, The National Law Journal
Thursday April 9, 2009, 3:02 am EDT

The drummer of Fleetwood Mac, Michael "Mick" Fleetwood, and several of his business partners, have sued their former attorney, Paul McDonald, and law firm, Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, for putting them on the hook for $4.5 million in attorney fees.

The Fleetwood group had hired the firm, which is based in Portland, Maine, to bring suit against a division of the British Broadcasting Corp. over distribution rights to rare musical recordings worth about $100 million, according to an amended complaint in the lawsuit, which was filed on March 26 in federal court in Maine. McNulty v. McDonald, No. 2:09-cv-00111 (D. Maine).

Michael J. Waxman, a solo practitioner in Portland, who represents the Fleetwood group, did not return a call for comment.

But according to court papers, the Fleetwood group's British-based company, Bee Load Ltd., paid Bernstein Shur $250,000 in upfront fees to file the suit in 2003 in Maine.

Two years later, Bernstein Shur agreed to renegotiate its retention agreement so that Fleetwood's group would pay 50 percent of the hourly rate for each attorney on the case, while the firm would obtain a contingency fee of up to 25 percent, the suit claims.

At that time, Fleetwood's group allegedly asked McDonald if they could be individually liable for the BBC division's attorney fees, to which McDonald replied there was "no chance."

But in 2005, the BBC division sued Bee Load in England, where a London court imposed about $150,000 in costs against Fleetwood's group. Bee Load filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2006.

Invoking a British law called the "Funders' Rule," the BBC division sought $4.5 million in attorney fees, the suit claims.

The Fleetwood group is suing Bernstein and McDonald for professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, unintentional misrepresentation and a declaratory judgment to invalidate sums that Bernstein Shur claims are owed the firm.

McDonald, a shareholder in the Portland office, who is chairman of Bernstein Shur's litigation practice group, did not return a call for comment.

Peter Rubin, a shareholder at Bernstein Shur who serves as general counsel, said the Fleetwood group owes the firm more than $900,000 in fees.

"They lost their case," he said, "and they're trying to make allegations that would relieve them of that payment obligation."

Further, he said, the allegations in the suit are incorrect.

"Mr. McDonald did not advise them that they could not and would not be held liable for the BBC fees," he said. "Among other things, he informed them they should consult with English counsel to get an answer to that question."

Bernstein Shur has about 90 attorneys in Portland and Augusta, Maine, as well as Manchester, N.H.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:35 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq.

Fleetwood Mac going its own way from lawyer
By Eriq Gardner, April 10, 2009

Fleetwood Mac says it got some very bad legal advice. So bad that band members now owe $4.5 million to the BBC in attorney's fees and want their own attorney to foot the bill.

The situation started innocently enough in 2003, when the band filed suit against the BBC in an attempt to protect distribution rights to rare musical recordings worth about $100 million, according to The National Law Journal.

They gave their lawyer, Paul McDonald of Bernstein Shur Sawyer & Nelson, an upfront fee of $250,000 and also agreed to further contingency fees.

The lawsuit against the BBC couldn't have gone worse. Two years later, BBC filed a countersuit against Fleetwood Mac's company, Bee Load, and won $150,000 in damages, which drove Bee Load into bankruptcy. But the kicker was when the court also made the band pay $4.5 million in attorney's fees under a British law called "Funders' Rule."

Now, drummer Mick Fleetwood has filed a lawsuit in Maine federal court against McDonald and the firm, saying the band asked its lawyer at the beginning of the case if they could be liable for BBC attorney's fees if they lost. McDonald allegedly answered, "No chance."
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