While Michael Ovitz’s name keeps coming up repeatedly in the ongoing Pellicano trial (though he’s charged with no wrongdoing), he’s also been the subject of an ongoing multimillion dollar lawsuit brought by his one-time Internet partner, billionaire investor Ron Burkle. But yesterday Ovitz scored a big victory when that lawsuit by Burkle alleging that the co-founder of CAA and fired Walt Disney Co. president broke a business agreement was dismissed yesterday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Soussan Bruguera. She decided that the men never had a formal partnership and, if anything, had more of a “friendship that soured” than a business relationship, and that terms of their oral agreement were too vague to enforce. Burkle’s attorney said he will appeal Bruguera’s decision to grant Ovitz’s motion. Meanwhile, Ovitz’s counter-suit against Burkle is still on, and a trial date has been set for April 28. Nevertheless, Burkle managed through the long and winding lawsuit to muddy Ovitz’s reputation, already tarnished by his many business failures. Burkle filed the complaint back in February 2005, claiming the two made a verbal agreement in the 1990s to jointly combine “their skill, money and knowledge” on investments but alleging that Ovitz breached their oral pact repeatedly. There’s now a long list of Ovitz’s former business partners from Hollywood, Broadway, Wall Street, Madison Avenue and sports (to name just a few areas) who despise him now.
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