As Richard Wilbur once wrote, "What is the opposite of two? A lonely me, a lonely you." So rages on the heartbreaking drama engulfing Cellino & Barnes, daytime television's most memorable injury attorneys. Earlier this week it was revealed that Stephen Barnes was seeking a restraining order against estranged partner Ross Cellino, thanks to the latter's alleged attempts to steal away the firm's staff to start his own venture. Yesterday, the duo's tale escalated further, when Cellino showed up in court and Barnes did not.
The NY Post reports that on Thursday, Erie County Supreme Court Justice Deborah Chimes ruled against Barnes's request for a preliminary injunction that would prohibit Cellino from wooing away the firm's staff. It's a move the latter's been making of late by claiming the "Cellino" name is more recognizable than "Barnes," though for the rest of us, both are meaningless without the jingle. Barnes was not present at the hearing, but Cellino showed up in a charcoal suit.
Barnes said in court papers that Cellino is "engaging in a pattern of conduct, which has caused and continues to cause catastrophic damage to C&B, its reputation and its brand." But Barnes's attorney contradicted his absent client at yesterday's hearing, noting the firm was "functioning as a well-oiled, multimillion-dollar machine" and prompting Cellino's attorney to point out his client couldn't be causing the firm "irreparabl[e] harm" if that was the case.
So, no preliminary injunction for Barnes, with Judge Chimes noting "the respondent has failed to meet its criteria to quality for orders" for one. Barnes's attorney did not give a reason for his client's absence.
Meanwhile, the Daily News reports the two refuse to work together. Previous reports have noted Cellino filed papers claiming Barnes engaged in "dictatorial" behavior, engaging "in a coordinated campaign of bullying other attorneys into…declaring loyalty to him" and calling an employee a "fucking coward" for not signing an oath of loyalty.
At least the TV movie will be good.