Business manager vs. lawyer in Black Eyed Peas spat

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Business manager vs. lawyer in Black Eyed Peas spat

Tue Dec 01, 2009 @ 10:21AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Black-eyed-peas-040909-1 Talent reps know it's not unusual for managers, lawyers, publicists and agents to develop rivalries amongst each other. But what happens when the bickering reaches extreme levels?

Witness a new lawsuit filed by Sean Michael Larkin, president and founder of Larkin Business Management. Last week in Los Angles Superior Court, Larkin filed a $5 million defamation claim against Helen Yu, a California lawyer who represents some of the performers in a "successful, world-famous music group" he manages.

The complaint doesn't specifically identify the band, but we've got reason to believe he's talking about the Black Eyed Peas.

Larkin acknowledges that through an inadvertent oversight, he did not timely file tax returns for the band. Yu allegedly used this opportunity to pounce. 

"Yu hatched an underhanded, deliberate and malicious scheme to ruin Larkin's reputation and poach his clients through lies, misrepresentations and falsehoods," says the complaint.

Larkin accuses Lu of anonymously sending two letters — one to the president of the music group's record label and the other to a key financial advisor for the label's president — that stated that Larkin lied and stole from his clients, overcharged commissions, made phony accounting, shredded documents, cooked the books and ran a "Madoff-like ponzi scheme."

The letters triggered a record label investigation, which Larkin says revealed no improprieties. Now represented by Skip Miller at Miller Barondess, Larkin is demanding at least $5 million in libel damages.

UPDATE: A court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss and also ordered the plaintiff to pay sanctions.

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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

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