Greenberg Traurig Is Having a Difficult Time Cutting Kanye West as a Client, Legal Documents Show

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Two weeks ago, reports revealed that Greenberg Traurig was looking to dump Kanye West as a client. But the process might be proving more difficult than anticipated, as the court has now ordered the Recording Academy law firm “to demonstrate that Mr. West has been personally served with their application to withdraw.”

This latest twist in the New York City-headquartered firm’s effort to drop West – with whom a number of other legal professionals and companies have cut ties in recent weeks – came to light in an order from the presiding judge.

The overarching courtroom confrontation at hand, a copyright case concerning the allegedly unauthorized use of a sample in West’s “Flowers,” was filed by Ultra Music Publishing in late June of this year. According to the original action, the Ye track in question “directly samples an iconic song written by another Chicago native, Marshall Jefferson, in 1986…without permission and compensation.”

Moreover, the “blatant exploitation” of the decades-old (and purportedly “instantly recognizable”) work, entitled “Move Your Body,” is said to involve the allegedly infringed song’s being “repeated” in “Flowers” north of 22 times.

November 2nd saw Greenberg Traurig file a motion to withdraw from the case, explaining of the decision in a public statement: “This firm was founded by individuals who faced discrimination and many of us lost ancestors because of that kind of hate and prejudice. Our firm has notified the courts that we wish to withdraw from our representations and are moving to do so.”

And as mentioned at the outset, the presiding judge proceeded to order Greenberg Traurig to show that West had been served “personally” with the application to withdraw. With a deadline of today, November 21st, the firm was specifically required to “file proof of service on the docket and provide the Court with a status update as to their efforts to personally serve Mr. West.”

On Friday, Greenberg Traurig partner Nina Diana Boyajian submitted a declaration in support of the withdrawal motion, though said declaration was filed under seal, with its contents having been redacted from the public version.

Consequently, the outcome of Greenberg Traurig’s attempt to end its professional relationship with Kanye West (who’s returned to Twitter) remains to be seen. At the time of writing, the firm hadn’t responded to DMN’s requests for comment, nor had a related update been added to the docket.

Towards October’s conclusion, West was named in a separate complaint levied by his former accountant, while the Donda 2 creator in July was accused of failing to pay over $415,000 in owed fees for high-end clothing rentals.