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Prince Sued by Hs Former Lawyers

By James Norwood on March 03, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

This is what it sounds like... to be sued by your lawyer. -- "When Doves Cry," the Litigation Remix.

Music fans may be surprise to see headlines like "Prince Sued by Former Lawyers." On the other hand, so many superstars are being sued these days, maybe not.

Pop star Prince, real name Prince Roger Nelson, is being sued by the New York law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler (PBWT) for $700,000 in legal fees according to CBS News.

PBWT, who represented Prince in his divorce from wife Manuela Testolini, claims the singer failed to promote his fragrance in Ireland and allegedly backed out of a concert in California, and on a security deposit on a Beverly Hills mansion.

The law firm alleges that Prince only paid $125,000, and still owes $700,000. If somebody owes an individual or a business a debt, they may find relief in court. Depending on the debt, a plaintiff could sue in small claims court if the debt is less than $5,000 depending on the jurisdiction. Or, if the debt is greater than $5,000 (say, oh $700,000) a plaintiff can turn to the superior court. In New York, the limit is $7,000.

Since Prince is being sued for $700,000, he will be in Manhattan's Supreme Court. Non-lawyers are often confused by the name. It's not a Supreme Court like the United States Supreme Court. In New York, the Supreme Court is a trial court of unlimited jurisdiction, meaning there is no limit on the amount of damages that in a case that can be heard by this court. 

As Prince's former lawyers will tell you, winning the case in court is only half the battle. Collecting is the tough part. For example, if the defendant has no money or assets you may not be able to collect your money. As the saying goes, you can't squeeze water out of a rock. However, to have the best shot at collecting a judgment a plaintiff should: 

  • file and record the judgment at the county recorder's office where the property is located
  • request an Order for Debtor's Examination
  • submit a Writ of Attachment, Writ of Garnishment or Writ of Possession and have the writ served the person controlling the property
  • if there is a bank account, serve the bank manager with a writ of execution
  • file a Satisfaction of Judgment form with the court

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