Ovitz faces lawsuit over Pellicano

Bernier suing over alleged investigation

Former AMG exec Arthur Bernier has sued Michael Ovitz and a host of others in an invasion-of-privacy suit.

Suit stems from an earlier employment lawsuit for which Ovitz hired disgraced detective Anthony Pellicano, allegedly to gather embarrassing information about Bernier.

According to a lawsuit filed Feb. 8 in the Santa Monica branch of Superior Court, Bernier, a manager, was fired in 2001. He sued AMG, Ovitz’s short-lived management company, for wrongful termination in 2002, seeking about $200,000 he claimed was owed under his contract. Ovitz then hired the law firm Gorry, Meyer & Rudd to handle the case and also hired Pellicano, allegedly to gather embarrassing information and report back to the law firm. Pellicano then hired police officer Mark Arneson to unlawfully access criminal and other records.

James Ellis, an attorney for Ovitz, said, “This is beyond frivolous as to my client. It’s insane.”

The suit, which also names Pellicano, Arneson, the law firm and the city of Los Angeles as defendants, seeks unspecified monetary damages on several causes of action including invasion of privacy and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The suit against Ovitz is in conjunction with Bernier’s claim against the City of Los Angeles over the wrongful actions of Arneson. According to the suit, it is needed to prevent the claim against the city from being barred as too late.

Bernier alleges that records were illegally accessed and does not claim that wiretapping was involved.

Pellicano, at one time Hollywood’s most prominent private eye, was indicted on Feb. 6, 2006, for pervasive illegal wiretapping he conducted to aid his lawyer-clients. He is awaiting trial. Arneson and several other accomplices were also indicted, but with the exception of Terry Christensen, Kirk Kerkorian’s lawyer, the anticipated indictments of several high-profile entertainment lawyers and their clients did not materialize.

On Wednesday, after months of silence, a new indictment was unsealed that did not add any new defendants but did add more victims, including entertainment attorney John LaViolette, who represented Intertainment in its lengthy legal battle with Franchise Pictures.

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