The personal injury lawyers Cellino & Barnes — who’ve been feuding in court for over two years — are finally expected to split up and open their own separate law firms, according to court papers.
Lawyer Ross Cellino Jr. — who filed suit in 2017 to break up the company he formed with longtime partner Stephen Barnes — said in an affidavit filed Friday in the Erie County Court case that Barnes has finally agreed to dissolve their firm.
“After three years of needless, wasteful litigation, during which respondent Barnes has lost virtually every contested issue in this matter,” Barnes “now accepts the reality of this situation and has advised this court that he will consent to a dissolution,” Cellino said in the court papers.
Cellino added that he and Barnes are prepared “within the next 30 days — to open our own separate law firms.”
The public break-up of the company — known for its TV advertising jingle “Don’t Wait, Call 8!” — has gotten such notoriety that it was made into a play called “Cellino v. Barnes” that runs at the Bell House in Gowanus.
Cellino’s lawyer, Terrence Connors, told The Post, “Ross is excited about the next chapter in his professional career and looks forward to the final order of dissolution.”
“Once the dissolution has been filed, that will be the end of Cellino & Barnes,” Connors added.
Barnes’ lawyer, Christopher Berloth, said his client will be forming a national firm by combining his California law practice with the New York one that will be called The Barnes Firm.
“Mr. Cellino has no ownership interest in any part of Barnes’ California practice, nor will Cellino be a part of the expanded national firm to be established by Barnes in the near future,” Berloth said.
“Mr. Barnes is confident that there will be uninterrupted continuity in the service provided to all firm clients.”
Still, Berloth said, “The details of the split are not yet final; as such, while the firm Cellino & Barnes, P.C. will, at some point, become two new firms, the details regarding the assets of the firm, such as the phone numbers and the jingle, are still being worked out.”