The famed personal injury firm Cellino & Barnes has broken up, according to the New York Post, a very apt deliverer of this very NY-centric news.
Like all attorneys worth their salt, the Buffalo-based duo was responsible for a legendarily catchy/obnoxious "Don't wait! Call 8!" jingle that allowed potential clients to simply keep pressing '8' on their phones until somebody picked up. For those willing to risk getting a dumb tag line for a now-defunct business in a state they might not even live in stuck in their heads, here's a clip:
The Post, citing "a source close to the case," goes on to write that this split was the product of a "three-year, knock-down, drag-out legal battle." It's not yet clear which of the duo, if any, will get the 1-800-888-8888 number (probably pretty valuable, actually), nor is it real clear which of the duo is Cellino and which one is Barnes. All of a sudden that kind of matters:
The legal battle's origins begin in 2017, after lawyer Ross Cellino Jr. reportedly put together a lawsuit to split with partner Stephen Barnes. The rift was said to be caused by a disagreement over the future of the company. Love is dead, et cetera, et cetera.
According to court papers, Cellino said that at some point Barnes yelled at him, "Why the fuck would you want to fuck this up when you are making $10 million a year?!"
The contentious legal battle even got to a point where an off-Broadway play on the matter popped up in Brooklyn in 2019. The name of that play? Cellino v. Barnes.
The two have also concocted new jingles for their solo firms.
This past January, Cellino claimed via an affidavit that Barnes had finally decided to say screw it and throw in the towel. Despite that, it took nearly another six months for both sides to agree to a confidential settlement. A day after reporting of the break-up, the Post said the nearly 60 attorneys employed by the old firm will have to pick which half they want to continue working for.
Anyway, their two solo firms should be open within the next few months, which should be just in time for ice slipping season.