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Susan Sarandon’s legal battle against former manager makes headway

(Thinkstock: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
(Thinkstock: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Susan Sarandon cleared a legal hurdle in her lawsuit against her former business manager Wednesday when a judge found that the actress’ attorneys described in sufficient detail her allegations that the defendant recommended she invest in a series of real estate partnerships without disclosing he had a conflict of interest.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly Kendig rejected written arguments by Jeff Hsu, the attorney for Richard Franchis, of Francis & Nachshon, LLP, that the suit’s causes of action for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty needed to be clarified before the case could move forward.

The judge said that unlike fraud, the allegations asserted do not have to be so precise in detail at such an early stage of the case.

Hsu accepted the ruling without adding any verbal arguments.

After the hearing, Sarandon’s lawyer, Craig Marcus, declined to give an estimate of his client’s alleged damages.

The suit, filed last June, alleges that Francis put most of Sarandon’s assets into real estate partnerships in which he had control and a financial interest. Sarandon further alleges that he convinced her to invest in his real estate ventures because he needed capital to fund the acquisition of the property, but that he did not tell her that information.

Sarandon’s investments earned Francis millions of dollars, the suit alleges.

Sarandon says she was not aware of any potential conflict of interest by Francis until after she stopped using Francis’ services in 2013.

She later learned that if she were to sell the partnership interests, she would have to do so at a rate substantially below market value, the suit alleges.

Kendig scheduled trial for Aug. 8, 2016. She told Marcus that the case may have added interest to prospective jurors given the fame of his client.

“We’ll offer autographs,” Marcus said in jest.

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