BEVERLY HILLS—On Monday, July 10, a Los Angeles judge dismissed part of a lawsuit filed against actor Johnny Depp by his former management company, the Beverly Hills-based The Management Group (TMG), which alleged that Depp’s extravagant spending contributed to his financial difficulties.
In January, Depp filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against TMG and its principals Joel and Robert Mandel, seeking $25 million in damages for alleged negligence, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty, among other claims, according to reports. The suit alleges that TMG collected millions in fee’s without Depp’s consent, made unauthorized loans, failed to file or pay his taxes on time, and cost him millions in unnecessary fees and penalties. The actor fired the firm in March 2016.
TMG claimed in a countersuit that the Depp’s lavish spending and lifestyle led him to his financial troubles. According to their suit, Depp allegedly spend $30,000 a month on wine, $200,000 on private planes, $75 million on multiple homes, and $180 million on a 150-foot yacht. The management company also claimed they warned the actor that his $2 million monthly spending was unsustainable. They alleged that Depp owes the company $4.2 million from a $5 million loan.
In Monday’s ruling, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet dismissed a portion of TMG’s claims, indicating that allegations of Depp’s spending are not relevant to the case.
“The pages of allegations of Depp’s allegedly outrageous spending clearly have no relevance to the 5% commission allegedly owed TMG from the Pirates of the Caribbean payout, or to the final work done by TMG on transitioning their files to Depp’s new representatives,” Beaudet wrote.
“They would seem more relevant to the allegations of breach of oral contract related to the credit card debts, except that TMG does not specifically allege which exact expenditures by Depp were spent on which card, leading to that debt owed. Without specifics, the Court cannot find they are relevant to any cause of action in the FACC,” Beaudet added.
Regardless of the ruling, Beaudet allowed TMG’s lawyers 10 days to file an amended complaint in support of the claim, according to reports. The company will move forward with its fraud allegations against Depp, which claim that TMG’s employees aided in the actor’s transition to the new business manager because they were repeatedly told they would be paid for the work.
“TMG alleged that Cross-Defendants never intended to abide by their promises and TMG reasonably relied on the alleged false promises by doing the 386 hours of work during those last two weeks of March,” Beaudet wrote. “TMG has sufficiently alleged the elements of an action for promissory fraud with sufficient specificity, and the demurrer is overruled as to the sixth cause of action.”
Both sides considered the ruling a victory.
“Today, the court threw out a meritless cause of action TMG never should have asserted,” said Depp’s attorney, Benjamin Chew, to The Hollywood Reporter. “The fact that they had to change their theory on the fly is a sign of their desperation to distract from the real issues in the case. The court also granted Mr. Depp’s motion to strike from the cross-complaint a mountain of gratuitous smears about him. This was a good day for Johnny Depp.”
“Today’s ruling was a clear victory for The Management Group because the Court ruled in favor of our fraud claim,” said TMG attorney Michael Kump. “We intend to file an amended cross-complaint for declaratory relief. All of the issues regarding Depp’s extravagant spending continue to be fully included in the case.”
The case is set to go before a jury on January 24 next year. Depp, 54, rose to fame in the 1980s after appearing on the television series “21 Jump Street.” He appeared in films such as “Edward Scissorhands” (1990), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005), “Sleepy Hollow” (1999), and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. The actor is known for taking on challenging roles and has been nominated for multiple acting awards, including three nominations for Academy Awards for Best Actor.
He won a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2003 for his performance in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” In 2007, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his work in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” He recently reprised the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and is set to appear in “Murder on the Orient Express” and the biographical crime thriller “LAbyrinth” later this year.