Cellino & Barnes Battle Ends With Deal To Wind Down Firm

June 17, 2020

The warring partners who brought Buffalo, New York-based personal injury firm Cellino & Barnes PC national recognition — and massive profits — have struck a deal to close up shop, according to a lawyer involved in the negotiations.

While the terms of the settlement are confidential, Ross Cellino Jr.’s counsel said both sides signed papers Monday and Tuesday that were being held in escrow and called for a winding down of the business.

Cellino & Barnes “is still functioning and advertising, and still working for clients,” said Cellino attorney Terrence Connors. “It will continue to do so as it morphs into two firms, which should happen within a few months.”

The end has long been in the works amid an acrimonious squabble between Cellino and his longtime partner, Stephen E. Barnes.

In a still-pending lawsuit filed three years ago in the Erie County branch of the New York State Supreme Court, Cellino said he and Barnes were on “essentially opposite” sides of a host of management issues, including hiring decisions, attorney paychecks and advertising expenditures. That created a “deadlock” in the 50-50 partnership that necessitated dissolution, according to the suit.

Barnes is represented by Christopher M. Berloth and Gregory P. Photiadis of Duke Holzman Photiadis & Gresens LLP and Peter Mahler of Farrell Fritz PC.

Cellino is represented by Terrence Connors and Vincent E. Doyle III of Connors LLP and Julia M. Hilliker of Hodgson Russ LLP.

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