CINCINNATI — The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week heard oral arguments in Jimmy Flynt’s quest to revive a $20 million legal malpractice claim against his former lawyer, Paul Cambria, along with his law firm, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP.
Jimmy Flynt is appealing a decision made in October by U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman, who granted summary judgment to Cambria, a longtime lawyer for his brother, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.
In an effort to reverse Bertelsman’s order and have the case remanded for further proceedings, Jimmy Flynt’s counsel, Robert Hojnoski, told a three-judge 6th Circuit panel last week that despite the lack of any agreements between Cambria and Jimmy Flynt during key dates in question, there was an attorney-client relationship between them.
Cambria represented Jimmy Flynt in various legal cases between 1976 and 2004, and thus was his attorney moving forward, Hojnoski said.
He argued that it was Cambria, along with other attorneys at the firm, who orchestrated a plan to squeeze Jimmy Flynt out of the Hustler Cincinnati store with the Hustler trademark by choosing between the brothers and leaving him in the dust.
Hojnoski told the panel that Jimmy “was taken down a primrose path” while Cambria and his firm “were essentially cutting his legs beneath him.”
Cambria’s appellate counsel, Beth Bryan, however argued that Jimmy Flynt can’t prove he had an actual attorney-client relationship with Cambria or the firm from 2001 to 2009, the period during that he claims he lost out on lucrative opportunities in the midst of a larger legal battle with Larry Flynt over Hustler-related businesses.
Bryan argued that Cambria and the firm had only represented Jimmy Flynt in certain criminal cases in the 1970s and again in 1998, but after that they had no attorney-client relationship with him.
Cambria and his firm claim that Jimmy Flynt’s primary attorney during those years was H. Louis Sirkin, who first began representing him in 1998 as local counsel in an obscenity case in Hamilton County, Ohio, and continued on as attorney after that.
In the lower court decision, Bertelsman said the facts of the case did not facilitate the possibility that an attorney-client relationship can be "implied" between Jimmy Flynt and Cambria based on the submission of confidential information by the client.
"Paul Cambria discussed many confidential issues with Jimmy," Bertelsman wrote in his ruling for summary judgment. “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."
To listen to just-released audio of the 6th Circuit hearing in Hustler Cincinnati vs. Cambria, click here.
Pictured: Jimmy Flynt