LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – Painter of Light Thomas Kinkade encountered yet another setback in his litigation against the law firm of Norman Yatooma & Associates (www.normanyatooma.com). Michigan Judge Rudy Nichols Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit accusing the firm of illegal eavesdropping while representing former Kinkade Gallery owners who accused the painter and his California company of committing fraud.
The lawsuit alleged that attorney Joseph Ejbeh improperly transmitted over the Internet transcripts of testimony to witness Terry Sheppard on a real-time basis. The lawsuit alleged that this digitally transmitted testimony was illegal under Michigan’s eavesdropping law. However, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Rudy J. Nichols strongly disagreed. Judge Nichols cited documentary evidence, referring to letters to and from Kinkade attorney Dana Levitt, plus statements on the record by Levitt that illustrated the Kinkade camp knew about the internet feed at all times.
Specifically, the evidence showed Levitt knew about the internet transmissions well in advance of the first hearing in which it was used and was on notice well in advance that the arbitration would not be considered private.
Said Yatooma. ³The Judge made the correct decision. The Kinkade Company had the audacity to paint themselves as a victim, when all along, they knew there was a court reporter present transcribing every word, knew there was a live internet feed, and knew these proceedings were not considered private.
This ruling represents another failed attempt by Kinkade to silence those who reveal the dark side of the so-called Painter of Light.²
The lawsuit was dismissed against all defendants. Yatooma contended the lawsuit was in retaliation for an $860,000 decision they won a week earlier against the company on behalf of former Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery owners. A win that is estimated to rise to nearly $5 million once fees, interest and costs are added. As evidence of this, Yatooma pointed to the fact that the L.A. Times received the complaint before he did. ³This lawsuit is another malevolent attempt to discredit us, the only law firm to beat the Kinkade Company on behalf of a Gallery owner. It blew up in their faces².
Yatooma noted that there will be a forthcoming motion for sanctions against Kinkade and company and a lawsuit for abuse of process and defamation.
Birmingham, Michigan-based Norman Yatooma & Associates, P.C.
(www.normanyatooma.com) is a full-service law firm offering expertise in civil and criminal cases in its Oakland, Macomb and Emmett County offices.
While the Firm has a wide range of practice groups and areas, it specializes in commercial litigation sounding in complex theories of contract and tort liability including franchise, class action, business and real estate law.