Britney Spears's mom requests $663K in attorneys fees as the singer blasts her for being behind the conservatorship
Lynne Spears says her legal team played a pivotal role in helping to #FreeBritney.
In a new filing in Britney Spears's conservatorship case, obtained by Yahoo Entertainment, the singer's mother says she was the one who got the ball rolling, in 2019, to oust the star's dad, Jamie Spears, as conservator. Now, Lynne wants the court to OK the conservatorship paying her over $660,000 in legal fees. The new filing comes at the same time that Britney, 39, posted then deleted scathing comments about Lynne this week.
The 27-page filing outlines how "the very concerned mother" retained the law firms Jones Swanson Huddell (in Louisiana) and Ginzburg & Bronshteyn (in California) in 2019 due to the "unreasonable restrictions under which [Britney] suffered," which included being "involuntarily moved from her home," not being allowed to travel to Louisiana to spend Christmas with her family and "an extended stay in a medical facility against [her] will."
At that time, Lynne told her lawyers the pop superstar was getting "medical treatment that she did not believe was warranted." Further, she "spoke of daily restrictions on Britney, 'microscopic control,' such as a paltry unexplained weekly allowance, the type of phone she was allowed (a flip phone), travel and movement restrictions including Britney driving her own car, and prohibitions on visitors to her home, including her boyfriend and even her children's friends. Lynne reported that Britney was controlled by those in charge of her conservatorship sometimes providing and sometimes taking away things she desired."
In retaining her own counsel and joining the conservatorship as an "interested party, Lynne's goal to "help Britney achieve independence from her conservator father," Jamie, who Lynne divorced in 2002 (though briefly reconciled with in 2010). Lynne said Jamie "had complete control over every aspect of Britney's life" as conservator of her person and estate at the time.
Lynne claims Britney "enthusiastically agreed" to her mom getting lawyers and becoming involved in the case in hopes of ending "her nightmare and the crisis she was in."
Lynne says she hired her own lawyers because Britney was denied her own choice of counsel and made to use court-appointed attorney Sam Ingham, who stepped down in July. Lynne hoped her attorneys would "fill that gap" and help her daughter get the basic rights she "was being denied."
According to the document, the first hearing Lynne attended with her new legal team was in May 2019 — and she walked into court "arm in arm with Britney." At that hearing, Lynne said Britney "opened her heart" to the court "for the first time" and requested Jamie be removed. (Britney has since said she felt she was not heard on any level that day. During that time, she was staying in a mental health facility and has since said it was against her will.)
"It is because Lynne's counsel questioned the adequacy of Jamie's competence to remain as conservator of the person … that for the first time in the 11th year conservatorship, real discussions began about limiting Jamie's involvement in the conservatorship," the document states.
From then on, Lynne's legal team fought to remove Jamie and demanded a "top down review" of the conservatorship, including looking into the singer's doctors and the "untoward medical treatment" being forced on her.
Lynne's legal team says their efforts led to some restrictions Britney was facing being "lifted" and "some form of normalcy, albeit not perfectly, returned to Britney's life." Weeks after being in a mental health facility against her will, the star got her iPhone back, took a trip to Turks and Caicos with her mom and was allowed to drive again.
Lynne said she and her legal team found new doctors Britney personally OK'd. They also pushed for a new corporate fiduciary, Bessemer Trust, to share the job of managing Britney's $60 million estate with Jamie.
The document notes that Britney requested "many times over" by that point to remove Jamie, but she was denied by the court and her attorney Ingham "vehemently objected" to Jamie being removed "in any capacity." Lynne said it wasn't until Jamie's September 2019 headline-making fight with Britney's sons, then 13 and 12, that Jamie agreed to "voluntarily" and "temporarily" step down as conservator of Britney's person, overseeing personal decisions for her and her day-to-day affairs.
"The reality was that his retirement was not voluntary," Lynne's attorneys write. "It was a negotiated result in which counsel for Lynne was actively engaged to remove Jamie from Britney's personal conservatorship."
Lynne's team pressed on to remove him completely, it says. However, the "court requested that Lynne's counsel hold off for a few months to see how things went" with Jodi Montgomery as temporary conservator of Britney's person. Then Bessemer Trust came on to share conservator of the estate duties with Jamie.
Lynne said Britney's lawyer, Ingham, only "finally" told the court Britney wanted Jamie removed in August 2020 — and started the process. Soon after, Jamie hired the law firm Holland & Knight to fight being removed, spending over $1 million in legal fees in a matter of months.
Lynne and her counsel take credit for calling out the "exorbitant fees and costs" Jamie billed to the conservatorship for "himself and his attorneys," including the "media tour" done by his head attorney. The document says it was her objection to the spending which ultimately curtailed it.
Lynne says that Britney finally was able to hire her own attorney in July, after addressing the court to detail conservatorship abuse, and Mathew S. Rosengart was able to remove Jamie which was what Lynne "had been asking for since the beginning of her involvement."
She says her lawyers have since been working with Rosengart in "learning the history" of the 13-year conservatorship. And thanks in large part to her teams' efforts, "Jamie is no longer Britney's conservator in any capacity," and there are uncontested motions are pending to terminate the conservatorship completely, which will be heard Nov. 12.
As for the fees for the two years of work, Lynne is asking for Britney's conservatorship to pay $663,202.84. It's $504,000 in fees to Jones Swanson, after a 40 percent discount, and costs of $9,718.07. Then $146,548 in fees to Ginzburg & Bronshteyn plus $2,936.77 in costs.
It's not guaranteed that the conservatorship covers the costs, as Jamie faces outstanding bills and a probe into the millions he's spent of his daughter's money, so much of the document outlined why Lynne's lawyers should be paid.
It made the point to tout her efforts, noting that Lynne not only helped her daughter, which was her main goal but "her role in elevating a message about conservatorship abuse" to the public "cannot be missed." It said the "litigation conferred a substantial benefit on the general public … by turning attention to conservators who are not serving their conservatees."
The lawyers add, "Lynne was very successful on behalf of Britney from the standing of both gains sought and gains obtained."
However, Britney publicly came after Lynne earlier this week — someone she hasn't specifically targeted — at the same time this new filing was made. The superstar wrote, and later deleted, an Instagram post about her mom being the one who was behind her conservatorship in the first place.
"My dad [Jamie] may have started the conservatorship 13 years ago … but what people don’t know [is] that my mom is the one who gave him the idea," Britney wrote. "I will never get those years back. She secretly ruined my life … and yes I will call her and Lou Taylor" the star's former business manager, "out on it … so take your whole ‘I have NO IDEA what’s going on’ attitude and go f*** yourself!!!! You know exactly what you did … my dad is not smart enough to ever think of a conservatorship."
Britney said in court in June that she wants to sue her whole family for keeping her in the conservatorship while profiting off her while her rights were taken away.
In a different Instagram post last month, Britney wrote about the conservatorship, saying for four months she had no car, phone or privacy and was forced to "give tons of blood" each week — with zero support from the Spears family. “If you're like my family who says things like 'sorry, you’re in a conservatorship' … probably thinking you're different so they can f*** with you!!!!”
And in yet another Instagram post she wrote, "Lord have mercy on my family’s souls if I ever do an interview!!!"
A hearing on Lynne's request for financials will take place Dec. 8.
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