A legal malpractice suit filed by former Republic Records president Charlie Walk against attorney Marc Kasowitz has been dismissed by a New York judge, court papers reveal. In 2018, Walk resigned from his executive position at the record label that’s home to The Weeknd, Post Malone and Ariana Grande after he was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women with whom he worked at Sony Music some 15 years earlier — two spoke on the record to Rolling Stone after accuser Tristan Coopersmith went public with a blog post on Jan. 30, 2018.
As part of the settlement with parent company Universal Music Group (UMG), Walk, who had also served as a judge on the Fox singing competition series “The Four,” was paid his severance (a base salary of more than $1.5 million) plus a 2017 bonus ($1.7 million), which was negotiated by Kasowitz of the firm Kasowitz, Benson Torres.
But in a March 2021 lawsuit, Walk asserted that his attorney, whose previous clients include former President Donald Trump, “botched” the settlement negotiation, claiming that he was given bad counsel, did not understand the terms and felt pressure to take the deal. He also suggested that Kasowitz paid little attention to his case.
“As is all too often the case with celebrity lawyers, Kasowitz could not be bothered to actually represent his client,” Walk’s suit stated, citing “ineptitude” and accusing the attorney of “passively cooperating” with UMG.”
Referring to himself as a “wrongfully accused celebrity,” Walk reasoned that he could have gotten a heftier payout that included damages, as other exiled executives have managed on their way out the corporate door. Walk estimated his lost compensation at $60 million.
New York State Judge Andrew Borrok dismissed each point.
In examining the employment agreement Walk signed with UMG, Judge Borrok stated, “the entire premise of this lawsuit is based on a false narrative,” pointing to numerous emails that prove Walk had an understanding “of the very issues that he now feigns a lack of knowledge of.” The Judge also noted that Walk had sought advice from other attorneys, demonstrating that he did not exclusively rely on the recommendations of Kasowitz.
As for legal malpractice, precedent outlines that “a plaintiff must prove a ‘case within a case’ by demonstrating that but for defendant’s actions, the plaintiff would have achieved a better result,” the decision states, suggesting that envy — that “others accused of misconduct have received more money in their settlements with their employers” — was at the cause of the complaint.
Attorney Bryan Freedman, who is currently representing Walk, told the New York Post that his client plans to appeal the decision.