Jimmy Flynt Asks 6th Circuit to Revive $20M Legal Malpractice Suit

Rhett Pardon

CINCINNATI — Jimmy Flynt has asked the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to revive a $20 million legal malpractice claim against his former long-time lawyer, Paul Cambria, as well as his firm, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP.

Jimmy Flynt told the appeals court in a brief on Friday that U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman erred in granting summary judgment to Cambria and the firm over his claims for legal malpractice and tortious interference.

News of the appeal was not unexpected; Jimmy Flynt told XBIZ he’d challenge Bertelsman’s order shortly after the case was decided by Bertelsman.

He’s asked the 6th Circuit to hear oral arguments in the case that seeks to reverse the order and have it remanded for further proceedings.

Last October, Bertelsman granted Cambria and his firm summary judgment after he ruled that Jimmy Flynt failed to prove an attorney-client relationship with legal counsel and brother Larry Flynt, who controls LFP Inc.

Jimmy Flynt’s counsel argued that Cambria represented him in various criminal prosecutions between 1976 and 2004 and thus was his attorney moving forward. But Bertelsman dismissed that contention.

"The attorney-client relationship can automatically terminate when the attorney completes the discrete task for which he was retained," Bertelsman wrote in the order. "Thus, Cambria's representation of Jimmy in certain criminal matters does not mean Cambria also represented Jimmy for all of his legal needs into the future."

Further, Bertelsman wrote, there were no invoices, oral retainer agreements or engagement letters between Lipsitz Green to Jimmy Flynt or his adult retail operation during the dates in question.

In addition, Bertelsman said the facts of the case did not facilitate the possibility that an attorney-client relationship can be "implied" based on the submission of confidential information by the client.

"Paul Cambria discussed many confidential issues with Jimmy," Bertelsman wrote. "However, they all related to Jimmy's position as an employee with Larry Flynt Publications and not to Jimmy personally or his role with [his retail operation, Hustler Cincinnati]. Jimmy testified that his position with Hustler Hollywood required him to interact with company counsel, which would be Cambria and the [Lipsitz Green] firm."

In the appeal to the 6th Circuit, Jimmy Flynt’s counsel said Bertelsman’s decision is not supported by the evidence.

“In addition to raising a genuine question of material fact on the legal malpractice issues, plaintiffs also raised a genuine question of material fact regarding their claims for tortious interference with contractual/business relationships and Jimmy’s expectancy interest in Larry’s testamentary trust,” Jimmy Flynt’s counsel said in its appeal. “It is undisputed that Jimmy’s pay and benefits were stopped, that Jimmy has received no retirement benefits and that Jimmy was removed from Larry’s trust after the instant litigation began in the 2009 timeframe.

“It can reasonably be inferred from Larry’s testimony that the prosecution of the current litigation was made at defendants’ insistence. Moreover, to the extent that the facts show that defendant Cambria is now a trustee of Larry’s trust, defendants’ intent to interfere with Jimmy’s expectancy interest can be further inferred, creating a genuine issue of material fact on that issue as well.”

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