Business

Charlie Walk's Former Attorneys Fire Back, Demand Dismissal of $60M Malpractice Suit

Charlie Walk
Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Republic Records

Charlie Walk attends the Republic Records Grammy Celebration presented by Chromecast Audio at Hyde Sunset Kitchen & Cocktail on Feb. 15, 2016 in Los Angeles.

The firm denies Walk's claim that partner Marc Kasowitz failed to vigorously defend the former Republic Records head against sexual harassment allegations.

New York attorney Marc Kasowitz and his New York firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres is demanding that its onetime client, former Republic Records president Charlie Walk, immediately dismiss his “frivolous” $60 million malpractice suit.

Walk sued Kasowitz and the firm on March 25 in New York Supreme Court, blaming them for causing him to lose his $3.5 million dollar a year job at Universal Music Group by, he claims, failing to vigorously defend him when he was accused of an old allegation of sexual harassment that occurred during his tenure at Sony. In the complaint, Walk alleged that Kasowitz “botched representation” during his departure from UMG, leading to “catastrophic results” on his career.

In response, Daniel Benson, an attorney at the Kasowitz firm, dispatched a terse letter to Walk and his attorneys advising them to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit by 5:30 p.m. on April 27. If the suit isn’t dismissed by that deadline, the letter says the firm will pursue sanctions and ask the court to award them attorney fees and other costs incurred in defending themselves from the “frivolous” lawsuit. The letter contends that Walk's complaint is not only without any merit, but was “undertaken primarily to harass or injure Kasowitz."

Benson argues that Walk’s premise that the firm failed to aggressively defend his former client is “ludicrously false.” He maintains that the three independent outside attorneys Walk met with during the time Kasowitz was representing him all told Walk of his other options to pursue litigation, what claims he could bring in litigation and of the potential witnesses who would testify.

Contrary to Walk’s claim that the lawsuit he was facing concerned his previous stint at Sony, Walk was in fact being investigated for misconduct he was accused of committing while at UMG -- namely, his attempts to kiss a woman at a UMG party, Benson argues in the letter. After the completion of that investigation, which was undertaken by an independent firm hired by UMG, the company threatened to terminate him for cause under their harassment policy, Benson continues.

Benson maintains that the firm was prepared to aggressively defend Walk, but that Walk independently decided it would be better to enter into a settlement agreement rather than go through a protracted and expensive arbitration.

Walk was primarily concerned over his “deep fear about being publicly fired for cause” and the “severe and immediate…consequences that such a firing could have on his son’s potential matriculation to a particular college,” according to the letter. It also claims that Walk told the firm “it was likely that his wife would divorce him” if he decided to fight UMG.

“Your client apparently wants to smear Mr. Kasowitz and this firm to try to repair his reputation which his own misconduct sullied,” Benson writes. “He will be unable to do so. Your participation in his effort by defaming Mr. Kasowitz and this firm in your fictional complaint and in your statements to the media is sanctionable. If the complaint is not withdrawn immediately, we will take all necessary and appropriate steps to obtain redress for you and your client.”

In an email sent to Billboard, Walk’s attorney Bryan Freedman of Freedman & Taitelman states, “Charlie Walk deserved his day in court so that he could present his truly overwhelming evidence. This case is simply about that issue not harassing or injuring Mr. Kasowitz.”