New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Cellino and Barnes


December 1st, 2017

Cellino & Barnes Divorce Gets Uglier

Sometimes a divorce is amicable. The divorce of Cellino and Barnes, however, is not one of those times.

Back in May I wrote how this large personal injury firm — based in upstate New York but expanded not only to downstate but out to California as well — had collapsed.  Some told me privately that I was jumping the gun, and that collapse was too strong a word for this fight.

I speculated back then that the two main reasons for a firm of this size to collapse were money and ego. It appeared to me at the time, based on press accounts and court filings, that Stephen Barnes had already crossed the Rubicon and that there was no going back in his relationship with Ross Cellino, Jr.

And now we see this from the Buffalo News:

Money continues to roll in by the millions of dollars — but there’s no harmony between battling law partners Ross M. Cellino Jr. and Stephen E. Barnes.

On Tuesday, Barnes accused Cellino of trying to burn the Cellino & Barnes law firm “to the ground,” regardless of how many employees are hurt.

But if you think burn to the ground is harsh language, it doesn’t compare to this Barnes comment that comes in legal filings over whether a receiver should be appointed to resolve deadlocked issues regarding the dissolution of the firm. As per Barnes , Cellino said:

“I don’t give a f–k, I will burn the place to the ground and start over with one lawyer. I have the resources. F–k it, f–k Steve and f–k Daryl. Let all these f–king lawyers spend the next 20 years with Steve”

On the flip side of this nastiness is Cellino’s allegation in a November 29th affidavit that Barnes has already set up his own competing law firm and has used Cellino and Barnes assets/personnel to assist in doing so.

The TV and radio ads continue, by the way with an astounding $4.6 million spent from in 2017 through the end of November. In that same Cellino affidavit, he says that it makes no financial sense to continue spending money on a brand that will soon cease to exist. And they spend about $65,000 per month on pay-per-click advertising.

That’s a lot of money, in case you were thinking of following in their footsteps. But remember that money doesn’t buy happiness.

An old proverb states that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I’m not sure why that’s limited to women, however, as the emotions related to betrayal, ego, rejection, insult and revenge are all very powerful and cause people to do crazy things. That happens in relationships both personal and business.

This fight, with over 200 documents filed already, won’t be ending soon (or happily).


2 thoughts on “Cellino & Barnes Divorce Gets Uglier

  1. Gotta say this:

    Read your blog for years–since before was a practicing lawyer, and was just a law school student. Continued into my clerking. Stayed with ya during my years in the trenches, and as I rose to become a successful trial attorney.

    Not anymore. This is drek.

    Not only are you jumping on a situation you clearly don’t know all that much about, but, the writing is sloppy (opposite of what I came to expect from a good trial lawyer with a good blog):

    “Barnes said:; [sic.]

    “I don’t give a f–k, I will burn the place to the ground and start over with one lawyer. I have the resources. F–k it, f–k Steve and f–k Daryl. Let all these f–king lawyers spend the next 20 years with Steve”

    Now, in your own article, you write “Stephen Barnes,” yet, the quote mentions him saying “f-k Steve” . . . twice.

    Did you even proofread?

    Or did you do what so many do–see a tragic situation impacting hundreds, if not thousands of people and their families.

    Shame on you. Once saw you as an exemplar, now I just see you as an example of one of the throng of many more interested in salacious attention grabbing, rather than truth.

    • This is drek.

      I’ve written over 1,500 posts in 11 years. Some are better than others, and which is good/bad is usually in the mind of the reader. I once had a quickie post that had 50,000+ hits, and another that was one of my all time favorites had very few. I usually can’t predict.

      Did you even proofread?

      Sometimes I do a better job than others. The two errors you pointed out were fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

      This is, by the way, the single biggest story in New York regarding personal injury firms. It’s kinda tough for me to ignore it.

      But, for what it’s worth, I’re also been complimentary toward the firm in its advertising:

      Lawyer Advertising, Hockey & Iraq (And Budweiser)