Johnny Depp Wins Contract Fight With Ex-Lawyer

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on August 30, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Everyone has been wondering: How did Johnny Depp go through his fortune? In a recent Rolling Stone article, Depp is described as "alternately hilarious, sly and incoherent" when detailing his legal and financial woes. Though he has earned about $650 million, almost all of it is gone. If true, perhaps he has good reason to go through the day in an altered state. He has blamed everyone but himself. But recently, there may be reason to think he's right.

Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho! A Voidable Contract For Me

Depp won a major legal victory in a contract dispute against his former attorney, Jacob Bloom. In October 2017, Depp sued Bloom for $30 million, accusing Bloom of illegal self-dealing that enriched Bloom and his fellow law firm partners from an account taken out in Depp's name to handle residual fees. Over a three-year period, Depp should have received $32 million in residuals, but instead $9 million went to tax liabilities, and Bloom and his partners kept the rest. Bloom claims this is due to an oral agreement he had with Depp dating back to 1999. But the judge said this sort of oral agreement is not valid, and therefore voidable, since it wasn't in writing. And you can bet Depp is going to void it!

Depp may get $30 million back from Bloom; the trial date is in May 2019. In July 2018, Depp did settle, for an undisclosed sum, a $50 million suit he brought against his former business managers, The Mandel Company, based on similar claims. Maybe Depp's financial outlook is looking a little brighter these days. But he still has other legal woes to tend to, including:

Bloom's lawyers may appeal. However, if this ruling stands, the entertainment industry is abuzz at the thought that hundreds of oral agreements, similar to this, will be declared voidable. Such oral or "handshake" agreements have been the norm in the industry for decades. But, as the judge in this case said, "I am aware that showbiz people think they live in a different universe, but they don't. They're not a different universe."

If you have been subjected to an oral entertainment agreement that you think is not valid, contact an entertainment attorney, who can tell you if the facts of your case are bound by this ruling, and hopefully recover some of your fortune for you.

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