George Clinton Sues His Former Lawyers
7/14/2011 3:39pm EDT
Funk legend George Clinton is suing his former attorneys for $10 million over allegations they failed to pursue two cases of copyright infringement on his behalf.
The cash-strapped music icon, 69, claims he hired Oscar Yule Lewis, Jr. from Hendricks & Lewis in Seattle, Washington to help him regain the rights to a number of master recordings made with his band Funkadelic after they were "misappropriated" by an ex-manager.
In legal papers filed on Monday, Clinton admits he chose the firm because of their previous work in similar cases with the estate of Jimi Hendrix. Clinton alleges Lewis, Jr. advised him to first take legal action over royalties reportedly owed to him by Universal Music bosses, in order to win damages and then use that to fund the Funkadelic suit.
Now he accuses Lewis, Jr. of malpractice and messing up the Universal case, which resulted in Clinton being ordered to pay $3.5 million in legal fees. Clinton claims the lawyer also failed to look into another copyright lawsuit against Charly Records executives, who were reportedly willing to negotiate a settlement.
However, Lewis, Jr. has denied the allegations and insists it was Clinton's inability to pay for Hendricks & Lewis' representation which prompted the star to pursue his new lawsuit.
Clinton has been struggling financially for years following the mismanagement of his music industry funds and he filed for bankruptcy in 1984.