BY RICK ANDERSON, Seattle Weekly
Photo courtesy of
By Rick Anderson,
did not fuck you," was how Courtney Love responded when told by
her Seattle attorneys that she owed them up to $340,000 plus
interest. That was the balance due on legal fees attorney
Katherine Hendricks and O.Yale Lewis say Love incurred in a 2002
lawsuit against former members of her late husband's band, Nirvana,
from which she ultimately earned at least $9 million.
the troubled rocker and widow of Kurt Cobain has now agreed to settle
the attorneys' tab for an undisclosed amount, according to King
County Superior Court records. The settlement, effective Monday,
Sept. 17, apparently ends a three-year claim by Hendricks and Lewis,
who alleged Love breached their legal-services contract. Hendricks
would not discuss details of the settlement or confirm whether Love
had paid her debt on time, as she agreed to do in an Aug. 28
settlement report. A trial had been set to begin on Wednesday.
Court records indicate Love paid the Hendricks & Lewis firm
$1.15 million to represent her in the battle with Nirvana's two
surviving members, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic. But the attorneys
claimed she still owed $341,000, plus as much as $200,000 in interest
accrued over five years.
In the 2002 case, Love, 43, acting on
behalf of herself and her child Frances Bean Cobain, challenged
Grohl, Novoselic and Universal Music Group over the proposed release
of the band's final track, "You Know You're Right," and
sued for control of Nirvana's musical legacy. The combatants
eventually agreed to an out-of-court deal that included release of a
Nirvana box set and greatest-hits album.
Exact terms of that
settlement were never released, but court records in the attorney-fee
dispute state Love was paid $4 million from the renegotiated
contract. According to a declaration by Hendricks, publishing deals
related to that contract also earned Love and Frances Bean (as well
as Love's business, The End of Music LLC) another $5 million. (Last
year, Love sold 25 percent of her Nirvana publishing rights to
Primary Wave Music for a rumored $50 million, according to MTV
Hendricks & Lewis said all its legal fees
would be paid from those healthy proceeds. But although Love promptly
paid billing statements for 22 consecutive months, she abruptly
refused to further compensate the firm despite "substantial
rewards received" in the Nirvana case.
In court papers,
Love claimed H&L "significantly overbilled" her for the
litigation, and spent "unjustified amounts of time" on the
case. In a fax she sent to the attorneys, she had claimed that
"I did not fuck you. I paid you every oenny [sic]."
The former Hole singer also claimed she was never served with
papers in the fee dispute case because she was entering a Los Angeles
courthouse to fight drug charges at the time.
understand," she says in a King County court declaration,
"that the process server states that I was handed a Summons and
Complaint [in L.A.] and that I dropped it on the ground and that Mr.
[attorney Howard] Weitzman picked it up and acknowledged I had been
served with a Complaint. I never received any such document and deny
that this occurred."
In that 2005 L.A. case, she admitted
to using drugs while on probation from an earlier drug case that had
temporarily cost her custody of her daughter. A judge sent the rocker
and sometimes-actress to rehab for a month; after she re-violated she
was locked down in rehab for six more months. (Love recently said she
has cleaned up her act and slimmed down following a healthy, drug-
H&L said Love did not respond to requests for
discovery in the fee-dispute case. Though they asked for extensive
documents, she refused to provide "a single sheet of
paper," they said. Love appeared upset that the attorneys had
asked for financial details regarding the trust fund that was set up
for her daughter not long after Cobain's Seattle suicide in 1994.
After a King County judge ordered her to turn over some financial
documents in the fee dispute, the two sides got together with a
mediator earlier this year. They later reached a settlement based on
the mediator's recommendations.
Last month, papers were signed
indicating an undisclosed payment would be made by Monday, and the
case closed. Neither Love nor her representatives could be reached