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Legal Ethics

Suit Against James Brown’s Lawyers and Greenberg Traurig as Wild as Singer’s Life

Posted Feb 8, 2008 12:21 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Several lawyers have been named in a lawsuit filed by new trustees for the estate of legendary singer James Brown.

“Full of drama, the legal wrangling could be straight out of Mr. Brown’s turbulent life, reflected in songs that revolved around women, alcohol and the blues,” the New York Times says in its report on the lawsuit, filed in South Carolina state court.

The suit claims that David Cannon, Brown’s business manager and a former trustee of his estate, diverted millions of dollars of the singer’s money, keeping some of it for himself and also funneling part of it to two other former trustees, Brown’s personal lawyer and a former South Carolina magistrate judge, according to Times story and a report in the Augusta Chronicle.

The Times story identifies the lawyer as Albert H. Dallas while the Chronicle calls the lawyer Buddy Dallas. The Times story says the former judge is Alfred A. Bradley while the Chronicle says he is Alford Bradley.

The suit also accuses the law firm Greenberg Traurig and its lawyer Joel Katz of breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and conspiring to defraud Brown, the Times story says. It alleges the firm helped in an attempt to refinance Pullman bonds based on the singer’s future income in order to earn "excessive and exorbitant fees and commissions," the Chronicle story says.

Dallas called the lawsuit “outrageous” and “unfounded.” Greenberg Traurig defended its lawyer in a statement. It read: “James Brown never indicated to Joel Katz that he was unhappy with any legal services that Joel or our firm provided. We are confident that, when the true facts are presented, it will be clear that the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit.”

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