Litigation & Arbitration
Feb. 2, 2024
Sublime band sues attorneys over business deal losses
The lawsuit says the firm did not disclose a conflict before representing the band and their one-time manager in the same transactions, in which the firm is accused of favoring the manager in the negotiations.
Members of the band Sublime accused their former attorneys with King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano LLP of legal malpractice for allegedly playing both sides in business deals and pushing the musicians into merchandising deals they claim led to losses of several millions of dollars.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, asserts five causes of action including breach of fiduciary duty; and money had and received. The band seeks special, general and exemplary or punitive damages as well as disgorgement of funds paid "for work performed, but not done."
Managing partner and named defendant Howard E. King responded to an emailed request for comment with a brief statement: "Welcome to Fantasyland. Please enjoy the ride."
King represented Metallica in its dispute with file-sharing platform Napster.
Sublime is represented by Shawn S. Shaffie, Joel A. Osman and Matthew M. Einhorn of Parker Shaffie LLP.
Sublime's complaint says King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano breached its duty to Sublime with "conflicts galore."
It alleges that the firm did not disclose a conflict before representing the band and their one-time manager in the same transactions, in which the firm is accused of favoring the manager in the negotiations.
It says that they directed the band toward a merchandising deal with another KHPS client without disclosing the conflict or taking Sublime's merchandise out for bid.
And it calls out the firm's Peter T. Paterno, claiming he obtained a producer credit and $30,000 producer fee on a Sublime documentary.
"To add insult to injury, Paterno felt entitled enough to bill Sublime for negotiating his own ego trip -- that is -- the time he spent negotiating his own producer credit and producer fee. Thus, KHPS charged Sublime tens of thousands of dollars for legal fees so that Paterno could collect a producer fee, and satiate his ego and need for Hollywood "street cred" with a production credit," reads the complaint. Sublime Merchandising LLC, et al., v. King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano LLP, et al., 24STCV02171 (L.A. Super. Ct., filed Jan. 26, 2024.
Sublime's fusion of punk, reggae and ska earned the band a small but devoted following in the early 1990s. They had their first hit in 1995 when the Los Angeles radio station KROQ put their song "Date Rape" into rotation. They had major commercial success in 1996 with their self-titled third album, which was released two months after the band's singer, Bradley Nowell, died of a heroin overdose in San Francisco.