In Vampire Weekend Case, Photographer's Lawyers Petition to Quit

by David Walker

Tod Brody's lawyers say they no longer want to defend him for allegedly providing this image for use on the cover of Vampire Weekend's "Contra" album.

Lawyers for the photographer who allegedly provided a photograph with an invalid model release for use on the cover Vampire Weekend's "Contra" album are trying to quit the case.

The lawyers, who represent Tod Brody, complained to the court that Brody doesn't respond to their phone calls or e-mails and has refused to pay his legal bills. So they want to drop him as a client.

Brody has been accused of providing Vampire Weekend and its record company with a Polaroid image of former model Ann Kirsten Kennis. He allegedly charged $5,000 for the image, and provided a forged model release with it. It is unclear who shot the image or how Brody obtained it, but Vampire Weekend first came across the image on Brody's flickr site, according to court papers. Kennis sued the band and the record company for unauthorized commercial use of her likeness, and they in turn sued Brody.

It took all the parties weeks to locate Brody last fall so they could serve him with court papers.

Now Brody's Los Angeles-based attorneys say in their motion to withdraw from the case, "There has been a total breakdown in the attorney-client relationship that has made it impossible for Lavely & Singer to represent Mr. Brody in a meaningful fashion."

The attorneys say Brody has been rarely reachable by phone, and that he has answered e-mail only sporadically. Weeks went by without communications, the attorneys said, adding, "if and when he finally did respond, his responses became increasingly hostile and exhibited substantial animus toward the firm."

The court initially denied the attorney's request to withdrawal because they didn't meet all the administrative and legal requirements for dropping their client. That included providing an address for Brody so the court could serve him notice. Several days ago, Brody's attorneys re-submitted their request, after hiring a private investigator to figure out the address of Brody's residence.

A ruling on the second motion for withdrawal is pending.
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