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Ex-Weatherman Sues Gloria Allred for Malpractice

Variety logo Variety 6/7/2017 Gene Maddaus
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A former TV weatherman on Tuesday filed suit against attorney Gloria Allred, alleging that she botched his discrimination lawsuit against CBS.

Kyle Hunter hired Allred in 2010 to pursue his allegation that he had been passed over for promotions at KCBS and KCAL in favor of attractive younger women. Allred held a press conference to announce the case in 2012. But in his lawsuit filed Tuesday, Hunter alleges that Allred’s firm mishandled the case so badly that Hunter was left on the brink of bankruptcy, unable to pay an $800,000 judgment in CBS’ favor.

Hunter also alleges that Allred breached her ethical obligations by negotiating a deal with CBS for a TV show based on her life without telling him. Hunter’s claims are reportedly the subject of an inquiry by the California State Bar. Allred has previously accused Hunter of a “shakedown” attempt, and in the suit Hunter acknowledges that he signed a waiver consenting to the situation.

The suit, filed by attorney Robert Barnes, accuses Allred of using her celebrity status to “serve her personal pocketbook and political agenda.”

“Allred has spent her career more focused on winning press conferences than winning cases,” the suit alleges. “In this case, Allred sandbagged her client to serve her personal pecuniary interests, her penchant for public fame, and to protect the malfeasance of her media allies. Allred needs to spend less time in front of a TV camera, and more time in an ethics library.”

Hunter first contacted Allred’s firm in 2010, after being passed over for two jobs at KCAL and KCBS in favor of younger women. In the suit, he alleges that Allred failed to follow up with his co-workers who could have corroborated his story.

The case bounced around the legal system for a few years before the Court of Appeal finally dismissed Hunter’s claim in January 2016. The court ruled that Hunter had not offered sufficient evidence to counter the station’s argument that he was passed over because he lacked the “talent, skill or on-air presence” to succeed in the L.A. market.

The court also noted that Hunter had failed to provide declarations from his co-workers, who could have supported his claims. Several months later, Hunter confronted Allred with accusations that she had failed to represent him adequately.

“Allred explained to Hunter that he should feel like a ‘winner’ because the trial court ruled in his favor,” the suit states. “When Hunter responded that losing his case, career, income, healthcare, reputation, and having case law in his name that was adverse to every journalist and broadcaster in California did not make him feel like a ‘winner’, Allred offered no response.”

Hunter alleges that Allred’s firm later entered into a settlement with CBS for a sum less than the $800,000 award, but did so without his authorization.

The firm issued the following statement in response:

“Mr. Hunter has been threatening to sue our law firm for approximately one year in an attempt to get our law firm to pay him money which he is not entitled to. We represented Mr. Hunter vigorously and with devotion and with the utmost integrity. We advanced his case through all the courts in California, including two attempts to have his case heard in the California Supreme Court. He has no valid claim against our law firm or its partners and we will pay him nothing for his worthless claims. We will vigorously defend ourselves and we believe that we will prevail.”

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