04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT
The nation's highest-profile divorce case took another strange twist this week. The lawyer for Patricia Duff, who has hired more than a score of lawyers over the course of an epic 3 1/2-year divorce and custody battle with Revlon billionaire Ronald Perelman over their 5-year-old daughter Caleigh, wants out. Barry Levin pleaded with New York Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten to let him quit. "I have no communication with my client whatsoever," he told the judge. "She's canceled meetings, she won't return my calls, berates my staff, berates me." But Bransten rejected Levin's request. "This is not news to this court," Her Honor told Levin, "and it shouldn't have come as a surprise to you." There has been on comment from Duff on the matter.