Tuesday 20 March 2018

Johnny Depp’s lawyers fail to strike out fraud claim

The Management Group celebrated a “clear victory” after a judge did not strike out allegations that the Pirates Of The Caribbean star’s team committed fraud.

Johnny Depp is in a multi-million legal battle with his former managers (Yui Mok/PA)
Johnny Depp is in a multi-million legal battle with his former managers (Yui Mok/PA)

By Sam Blewett, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Johnny Depp’s lawyers have failed to convince a judge to strike out allegations of fraud in the 25 million dollar (£19.4 million) legal battle with his former managers.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean actor, 54, sued The Management Group (TMG) claiming it cost him tens of millions of dollars through “gross mismanagement”.

But the firm hit back saying the Hollywood star was responsible for his dire financial situation because of his “profligate” spending, which includes blowing 75 million dollars (£58m) on 14 homes and spending thousands a month on fine wine.

TMG and its owners Joel and Robert Mandel have also claimed Depp’s team “repeatedly lied” to convince them to carry out work they were never paid for during the transition phase after they were fired.

The firm’s lawyers say Depp and his co-defendants committed fraud by “misrepresenting repeatedly that they intended to pay” for work after Depp sacked TMG in March last year after 17 years of service.

TMG has made eye-watering claims of his expenditure (Yui Mok/PA)

Los Angeles Superior Court’s Judge Teresa Beaudet ruled on Monday that the fraud claims should not be struck out.

After the hearing, TMG lawyer Michael Kump celebrated the ruling as a “clear victory” for the firm because the court “ruled in favour of our fraud claim”.

The actor’s lawyer, Ben Chew, also claimed a “good day for Johnny Depp” after the judge threw out one aspect of TMG’s case.

Ms Beaudet ruled that claims of Depp’s “extravagant” spending was not relevant to the TMG’s counter law suit.

But the managers insist the claims, which include the actor spent two million dollars (£1.6m) a month, remain as its defence against Depp’s original case.

Among the allegations are that he spent three million (£2.3m) to fire the ashes of author Hunter S Thompson over Aspen from a specially crafted cannon

Depp started the legal action by saying the firm cost him millions of dollars (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Lawyers also say his wine bill hit 30,000 dollars a month (£23,000) and he bought 14 homes included a French chateau, a string of Bahaman islands and multiple homes in Hollywood.

Depp launched the action in January when he sued TMG for 25 million dollars for 11 complaints including fraud and professional negligence.

TMG countersued, seeking 560,000 dollars (£435,000) in damages.

The case is scheduled to go before a jury in January.

Press Association

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