Universal Entertainment wins legal battle

A former attorney was claiming US$142,150 in damages.
A former attorney was claiming US$142,150 in damages.

The Tokyo High Court has dismissed the appeal of a former attorney who claimed payment for damages and legal fees.

Japan.- The Tokyo High Court has dismissed the appeal of a former attorney of Universal Entertainment Corporation (UEC) over payment of legal fees and damages.

The case began in 2018, when UEC requested the Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association to take disciplinary action against attorney Yuki Arai, who had operated as auditor for the company between June 2014 and June 2015, for having violated Article 58.1 of the Attorney Act.

UEC said it had hired his services in 2012 but that he later requested a change in the address on the contract as he planned to establish himself in Hong Kong and handle oversees legal work. The change implied UEC entering a new contract with an executing entity located in the British Virgin Islands.

The company said this corporation was “neither an attorney nor a legal professional corporation” and so its engagement in the business of general legal services is in violation of Article 72 of the attorney Act, as well as Article 11 of the Basic Rules on the Duties of Practicing Attorneys.

As a result, the company accused Arai of unlawful conduct.

The attorney went on to bill UEC for legal services for the “enormous sum in excess of approximately JPY11.2 billion (US$106 million)”.

After UEC presented a formal complaint at the Bar Association in 2018, Arai filed a lawsuit requesting the payment of damages for defamation and the publication of an apology.

The Tokyo District Court rejected the complaint in March but Arai appealed the decision.

The Tokyo High Court has now dismissed the appeal in full, having found that it was reasonable that the company considered the acts described in the demand to fall within the scope of “misbehaving in a manner that impairs one’s integrity as an attorney.”

It is the second time the High Court has favoured UEC in an appeal this year.

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Japan Tokyo High Court Universal Entertainment