Few legal feuds have shaken the TV jingle community to the core quite like the one involving Cellino & Barnes, Injury Attorneys. The law partners and holders of the renowned 800-888-8888 phone number made shockwaves in May when Ross Cellino sued Stephen Barnes in the hopes of dissolving their eponymous firm. And according to a petition released this week, Cellino and Barnes have been dealing with some irreconcilable issues for over a year. Their ad still airs on NY1, but we'll never view it in the same way again.
The petition, filed by Cellino's attorneys in State Supreme Court, alleges his and Barnes's firm suffers from "internal dissention" thanks to some very serious differences in opinion between the two partners. Apparently Cellino and Barnes disagree on things like managing the business, employees' compensation, which clients they take on, expansion, how to practice the law, and "marketing," which I imagine includes the famed advertisement below:
Cellino is also apparently upset Barnes refused to let him hire his daughter, even though Barnes's girlfriend and brother both work at the firm. According to the petition, Cellino had hoped to keep the partners' separation on the DL so the court could "set a reasonable plan to address these issues before the glare of the inevitable media spotlight," but the media always wins.
Cellino & Barnes is one of the country's largest personal injury law firms, with offices in New York and California—there are 57 attorneys and 165 staffers in the New York offices alone. Cellino is seeking a court order for an "accounting" of the firm's assets, which the Buffalo News reports are worth at least $200 million.
The two have been partners for over 25 years, but they've been squabbling so viciously over the last year that the firm "has effectively ceased to function," so even though the 800-888-8888 number is still working, you're probably better off calling Segal & Lax.