Fleetwood Mac going its own way from lawyer

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Fleetwood Mac going its own way from lawyer

Fri Apr 10, 2009 @ 03:12PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Fleetwoodmac Fleetwood Mac says it got some very bad legal advice. So bad that band members now owe $4.5 million to the BBC in attorney's fees and want their own attorney to foot the bill.

The situation started innocently enough in 2003, when the band filed suit against the BBC in an attempt to protect distribution rights to rare musical recordings worth about $100 million, according to The National Law Journal.

They gave their lawyer, Paul McDonald of Bernstein Shur Sawyer & Nelson, an upfront fee of $250,000 and also agreed to further contingency fees.

The lawsuit against the BBC couldn't have gone worse. Two years later, BBC filed a countersuit against Fleetwood Mac's company, Bee Load, and won $150,000 in damages, which drove Bee Load into bankruptcy. But the kicker was when the court also made the band pay $4.5 million in attorney's fees under a British law called "Funders' Rule."

Now, drummer Mick Fleetwood has filed a lawsuit in Maine federal court against McDonald and the firm, saying the band asked its lawyer at the beginning of the case if they could be liable for BBC attorney's fees if they lost. McDonald allegedly answered, "No chance."

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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