Lien presents snag in settlement of suit against Marilyn Manson

The settlement of a lawsuit against Marilyn Manson by a former band member is being held up by the filing of a $72,000 lien for attorneys' fees, lawyers told a judge today.

Stephen Bier, better known by the stage names Pogo and Madonna Wayne Gacy, brought his breach-of-contract suit in Los Angeles Superior Court in August 2007 against Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner. The law firm of Grodsky & Olecki also was among numerous other defendants named.

Bier, who was seeking more than $20 million, alleged Manson used money from their former band partnership to buy items ranging from Nazi paraphernalia to a $150,000 engagement ring for ex-wife Dita Von Teese.

Lawyers told Judge Michael L. Stern on Dec. 11 that a settlement was reached, but that some matters had to be completed before he could dismiss the case. The terms of the accord were not divulged.

On Thursday, the settlement effort hit a snag when Grodsky & Olecki filed a lien for attorneys' fees stemming from their successful effort to persuade Stern to dismiss all of Bier's allegations against them in November 2007.

Stern's ruling was upheld by a panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal on June 4. The firm now wants to be paid from the settlement money and their lien at least temporarily puts a hold on a complete resolution of the case.

Stern scheduled a hearing for Jan. 15 on any further motions regarding the settlement.

Grodsky & Olecki represented both Bier and Manson while they were involved in previous litigation involving a third party. The allegations against the firm involved Bier's contention that it breached its duty to him with an alleged "threat letter" that was "a transparent attempt by Manson to frighten Bier into leaving the band," according to the keyboardist's court papers.

But Stern agreed with the firm's lawyers that the letter was written in contemplation that Bier might file a lawsuit and was therefore protected.

Bier's lawyer, Olaf J. Muller, said that despite the temporary setback due to the filing of the lien, Bier is for the most part happy with the resolution of the case.