Johnny Depp Gets Leg Up in Lawsuit Against Lawyer as Handshake Deal Ruled Invalid

“There’s not a special rule for entertainment people,” says Judge Terry Green

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A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled Tuesday that Johnny Depp’s oral contract with his former talent attorney Jacob A. Bloom is invalid.

“There’s not a special rule for entertainment people,” said Judge Terry Green, according to Variety.  “Why isn’t it in writing? Why not have something that memorializes the agreement so we don’t end up in court fighting like this?”

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, who last year sued his former managers The Mandel Company, has now sued his former lawyer and his firm, accusing Bloom and company of costing the actor “tens of millions of dollars” through the “unauthorized taking of Mr. Depp’s film residual and other economic rights for themselves” as well as via “conflicts of interest, self-dealing, legal malpractice” and other means.

The suit, filed against the firm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman as well as Jacob A. Bloom, states that the defendants “each collected over $30 million in contingent fees based on Mr. Depp’s variable income … without, among other things, the statutorily prescribed written contract, in a clear violation of California law.”

According to the suit, the initial loan was for $12.5 million, later increasing to $19 million, and was secured with Depp’s residuals from the first four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, as well as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Into the Woods.”

The loan, which according to the suit was loaded with “high fees, double-digit interest rates” and “substantial prepayment penalties,” kept millions in residuals out of Depp’s pockets, the complaint says.

“Over the approximately three-year period since the … loan was initiated, Mr. Depp should have received a total of approximately $32 million in residuals from the Films. Instead, Depp received nothing,” the suit reads.

In a statement provided to TheWrap, the Bloom Firm said it was “extremely disappointed” by Depp’s move to sue.

“In light of the longstanding relationship between the Bloom Firm and Mr. Depp, the Firm is extremely disappointed that Mr. Depp has decided to file this lawsuit,” the firm said. “The Firm disagrees with Mr. Depp and his counsel on the law and the facts, and intends to defend the lawsuit vigorously.”

The trial is set for May 6, and attorneys for Bloom may seek to appeal the judge’s ruling.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the judge’s ruling.