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Judge Dismisses Suit by Prince’s Ex-Manager

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A conflict-of-interest suit filed by pop star Prince’s former manager against a top entertainment law firm has been dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.

Judge Ronald E. Cappai ruled Friday that Steve Fargnoli has no legal grounds for suing the law firm of Ziffren, Brittenham & Branca, because the firm is exempted under a previous settlement of a lawsuit between the rock manager and Prince.

Fargnoli had accused the law firm, led by Hollywood power broker Kenneth Ziffren, of telling Prince that he overpaid his management team under a contract the Ziffren firm negotiated for Fargnoli. He also says the firm used confidential information gained while representing him to benefit Prince. Prince cut his ties to Fargnoli in 1988.

Fargnoli’s lawsuit was one of three filed recently against the law firm involving conflict-of-interest issues.

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The suits, two of which are still active, have helped spark debate in Hollywood over the potential conflicts lawyers and agents have when representing clients who sometimes have competing interests.

Larry A. Sackey, one of Fargnoli’s lawyers, said the judge’s decision will be appealed, arguing that the Ziffren firm should not be exempt from Fargnoli’s claims.


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