Partner sues for dissolution of law firm known in New York for its catchy jingle
Ross Cellino Jr. and Stephen Barnes. Photo from the firm’s Twitter account.
A well-known personal injury law firm with offices in New York and California appears headed for a split after one name partner sued the other.
The firm is Cellino & Barnes, report the New York Times, the Buffalo News and NewYorkUpstate.com. Ross Cellino Jr. sued Stephen Barnes in state court Wednesday, asking him to show cause why the firm should not be dissolved.
Cellino & Barnes is known for its jingle, “Don’t wait, Call 8!” Its number is (800) 888-8888. According to the Times, the specter of a split “threatened to further deplete the landscape of happily amateurish ads on the city’s subway lines.”
The substance of Cellino’s complaint against Barnes is unknown since many of the lawsuit documents were sealed by the court. The two lawyers have been practicing law together for more than 30 years.
The Buffalo News interviewed lawyer Paul Cambria about the legal filing. Cambria’s firm sometimes competes with Cellino & Barnes.
Cambria said New York law allows lawyers to dissolve a partnership for many reasons, including situations where the partners can’t agree or make basic business decisions. If the litigation goes forward, it will likely turn into a fight over assets, he said. The issues include who owns the name, the office, the slogans and the signs.
“If this goes forward, it will be like a huge divorce,” Cambria said, “a huge business divorce.”