BUFFALO, N.Y.-- It's a highly publicized real life legal drama and a judge has just ruled on a media access issue in attorney Ross Cellino's dispute with partner, Steve Barnes, over the future of their personal injury law firm.
A nationally known, Western New York-based Cellino & Barnes law firm prides itself on getting major settlements in personal injury cases. But so far, they have been unable to work out a settlement in a potential split between the two name-sake partners of the firm.
Attorney Ross Cellino was actually in State Supreme Court Monday, as Judge Deborah Chimes ruled that the original filing in his case against Steve Barnes could now be unsealed and made public in the next few days. Several publications sought this move by the court, regarding issues in this firm which has heavily advertised its representation of thousands of clients by hundreds of attorneys here in Buffalo as well as New York City, L.A., and San Francisco.
That may give a lot of information on the conflict between these two attorneys, which published reports say stems from a decision not to hire Cellino's daughter as a lawyer.
There was no discussion of the particular case in court, but Cellino did speak with reporters. Cellino said, "Steve and I have been partners for 25 years. We've had some amazing results for our clients. Our clients today are well protected. Lawyers are back at the office working hard on their cases right now. But there's been serious disagreements that have occurred between Steve and I. And the family issue is just one minor, minor one. And I wanna stress, minor."
2 On Your Side asked, "Can you elaborate on the issues that are separating you? Cellino responded, "I don't think this is the time or place for that. But I can just tell you that theres a time and place for everything and sometimes there's a time to move on for your partnership."
The attorney for Steve Barnes, Gregory Photaidis, would only say that they are still meeting with a mediator to resolve their differences and he is hopeful there will be a settlement without any more court action.
More mediation sessions between the legal teams for Cellino & Barnes are scheduled for later this week. They'll be reporting back to the judge, but in the meantime, we may learn more about their looming legal battle.