Dov Charney, founder and former chief executive of downtown L.A. clothing maker American Apparel Inc., continues to find new targets for his lawsuits. After exhausting nearly all legal attacks on those who helped oust him from the company, he’s now turned on his former attorneys.
The mercurial clothing executive has taken Century City’s Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro to court, alleging professional negligence and breach of contract.
Charney, who filed the claim in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, is seeking unspecified compensation from the firm, which represented him in his dispute with the American Apparel board after it jettisoned him in December 2014.
Charney filed the claim without counsel, blaming Glaser Weil’s lack of experience and comprehension of the legal principles at play when he signed a contract with his former company and Standard General, the New York hedge fund that later helped oust him during bankruptcy proceedings.
“Defendant was either unaware of some of the legal risks that I was getting into and/or unqualified to represent me and/or they should have sought the advice of other attorneys that had the relevant experience to insure (sic) I was being advised properly,” Charney’s complaint reads. “Or if they were qualified to represent me they failed to advise me of the legal risks and issues that I was faced with at the time I signed the aforementioned contracts.”
When reached last week, Charney confirmed he filed the suit but declined to comment about it or Glaser Weil’s representation of him.
Patricia Glaser, the head of Glaser Weil’s litigation practice and lead attorney for Charney during the American Apparel dispute, dismissed the allegations.
“Shame on him,” she said. “Absolutely no malpractice occurred. In my judgment, it’s sort of pathetic. I’m at a loss to explain how someone could do this.”
Charney was initially relieved of his duties as chairman and suspended as chief executive of American Apparel in June 2014 after the board confronted him with evidence of sexual misconduct and misuse of company funds. Charney hired Glaser Weil to represent him in the ensuing legal battle, but American Apparel ultimately fired him for cause later that year.
Charney then partnered with New York hedge fund Standard General in an attempt to gain a controlling interest in American Apparel, but he was later sued by the firm, which opted not to back his return to the company. American Apparel ultimately filed for bankruptcy protection in October and was taken private as part of a restructuring plan approved earlier this year.
After the manufacturer emerged from bankruptcy in February, Charney’s stake in American Apparel became worthless.
Charney’s longtime personal legal counsel, Keith Fink of Fink & Steinberg in West L.A., said in an email he was not involved in filing the case against Glaser Weil but was a party to it.
“I am a witness in the case and putting that aside friendly with Ms. Glaser and her firm,” the email read.
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