Over a year after Nicollette Sheridan saw her wrongful termination suit against Desperate Housewives ended in a mistrial, the actress today got a new trial date. Sheridan and defendants Touchstone Television will be back in court on December 2, LA Superior Court judge Michael Stern ruled today. Stern’s ruling came after denying a motion by the defendants to have the case dismissed. Sheridan’s lawyers filed an amended complaint for their client under a section of the California Labor Code that is designed to protect employees from losing their jobs if they make a complaint about workplace safety. This amended complaint follows a three-judge appeals court panel ruling last August that Sheridan could pursue claims that she was retaliated against after complaining that creator Marc Cherry struck her in the head during an on-set argument in September 2008. The lawsuit over Sheridan’s original claims that her Housewives character Edie Britt was suddenly killed off in early 2009 and she was wrongfully fired from her starring role on the ABC drama resulted in a deadlocked jury on March 19th of last year. That trial saw ABC executives past and present as well as Sheridan and Cherry among others take the stand. Cherry and ABC always insisted the departure of the character and the actress had been decided months before the hitting incident, which the producer has characterized as a light “tap.” Cherry ceased to be a defendant when midway through the first trial, Judge Elizabeth Allen White threw out the battery claim Sheridan had against the producer. Desperate Housewives itself came to an end just two months after the trial. The show wrapped up its eight-season run on May 13.
A hearing on a retrial was scheduled for September 10 but then taken off the calendar in June last year when Touchstone sought a ruling through the Appeals Court on its contention that it is not wrongful termination under state law when a contract renewal is not exercised. Subsequent appeals hearings did not go in the actress’ favor. However, The judges ruling in August did provide an opening for Sheridan to move forward again under a different avenue. In the case that will now begin at the end of the year, Sheridan’s damages would be limited to loss of wages and benefits, a far less than the $20 million she originally filed for in April 2010. Sheridan was represented, as she was in the first trial, by Mark Baute of LA firm Baute Crochetiere & Wang. He was joined by the firm’s David Crochetiere. Touchstone were represented by Adam Levin of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp. Levin represented the defendants in the first trial.
Luber Roklin Entertainment today sued Stephen Crawford for allegedly telling his clients not to pay commissions to his former employer once he moved to a new firm. In the three-claims complaint (read it here) the management … Read More »
A Superior Court judge today formally dismissed most of an $8 million lawsuit against Steven Tyler’s lawyer by the former American Idol judge’s former managers. Kovac Media Group/Tenth Street Entertainment had claimed in their suit filed back in October that attorney Dina LaPolt has played both sides and had messed up Tyler’s contract renegotiations with the Fox show in 2011. Judge Joseph Kalin this morning in a conference case management hearing declared that the defense’s invoking of anti-SLAPP statutes and the First Amendment did protect the lawyer. Kovac alleged LaPolt’s mishandling of their “hot commodity” cost Tyler a $6 million to $8 million raise in his Idol contract for a second season on the show. Tyler announced he was leaving Idol in July 2012. Today’s ruling was not unexpected as the Judge has previously staked out the position in a tentative ruling. That doesn’t mean it’s completely over. Read More »
A&E says that it isn’t Storage Wars that’s fake but the lawsuit from Dave Hester. A month and a half after Hester called the hit reality series a staged “fraud on the public and filed suit against … Read More »
Maybe the movie should have been called ‘No Courtroom For Old Men’. WME has pulled the plug on its legal efforts to get Tommy Lee Jones to pay up nearly $2 million in owed … Read More »
Paramount Pictures and Melrose 2 have come to a settlement in the $375 million fraud lawsuit the investors had with the studio. “The dispute was satisfactorily resolved,” a Paramount spokesman told Deadline today. No details … Read More »
CBS won’t be getting caught up in the rough currents of a Hawaii Five-O lawsuit after all. Monday the network was released from a lawsuit filed in May by the agent of Hawaii Five-O creator Leonard Freeman. “Defendant CBS Studios Inc.’s, erroneously sued as CBS Television Network, (“CBS”) Demurrer is sustained without leave to amend,” wrote LA Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon in his tentative ruling (read it here) made final Monday. While the network could be pulled back into the case on appeal, they are out of the case for now. “We appreciate the court’s ruling and are pleased that it brings an appropriate conclusion to our involvement in this lawsuit,” said a CBS spokesman today. Though many of his claims were substantiated, it was time that worked against Freeman’s former agent George Litto - specifically how long it took Litto to file his $10 million suit against the Freeman heirs and adding CBS to the complaint last fall. Litto contended in his suit that the heirs and CBS shut him out of 2010 negotiations for the reboot of the original series that ran from 1968 to 1980. After the 1974 death of Freeman, Litto and the producer’s widow Rose came to an agreement that gave him substantial rights in connection with future versions of the series.
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UPDATE, 11:21 AM: Judge Michael Johnson today issued a final ruling denying the state’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit from Ashton Kutcher’s production company against the California DMV. A trial date has been set for June 8. Katalyst Media and Soda and Pop Inc. filed the suit on June 19, alleging that the DMV dropped out of a reality series the Two And A Half Men star’s company was developing.
PREVIOUSLY, FRIDAY PM: Ashton Kutcher’s production company’s lawsuit against the California DMV for dropping out of a reality series moved one tentative step in the actor’s favor today. Judge Michael Johnson issued a tentative ruling Friday denying the state’s request to dismiss the breach of contract and promissory estoppel suit. Read More »
Author Angela Wilder has sued the network, the companies and some head executives alleging that her idea for a talk show based on motherhood was the real inspiration for the CBS daytime series. “It’s one thing to get sued over a project that was pitched to us, but quite a stretch to be sued over a pitch that was made to somebody else. Ms. Wilder’s alleged offering to Sony played absolutely no part in the creation of The Talk. We’ll vigorously defend this case and expect to prevail,” said CBS today. Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Aisha Tyler and Big Brother host Julie Chen co-host the CBS Television Studios and RelativityREAL produced show. CBS has always said that The Talk, which debuted in October 2010, is based on an idea by Gilbert. The Powerful Mate Syndrome author obviously disagrees. However, as made clear from the seven-count suit she filed on October 17, Wilder never actually met with anyone from either CBS or Relativity – though both are named among the defendants.
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The Aerosmith lead singer’s former manager says lawyer Dina LaPolt poisoned Steven Tyler’s contract renegotiations with American Idol, costing him a multimillion-dollar raise. Kovac Media Group/Tenth Street Entertainment today filed an $8 million lawsuit (read it here) against the entertainment lawyer and her West Hollywood firm. American Idol and its former judge are not named as defendants in the breach of fiduciary duty complaint. In fact Tyler is not named at all. Instead he is referred to as “The Artist” throughout the filing, though it is pretty clear from the players, his membership in a band and his role as judge for two seasons on the Fox show exactly who he is. The suit claims that in 2011 LaPolt lost “hot commodity” Tyler a $6 million to $8 million raise in his Idol contract for a second season on the show.
Related: Steven Tyler Departing ‘American Idol’ Read More »
The former Miami Vice star will still be getting money from the profits of Nash Bridges, just not the $50 million he was awarded over two years ago. “We have affirmed the $15 million damage award plus 10 … Read More »
A New York judge has tossed the yearlong legal action around the short-lived paranormal crime series. “The Court finds that no discerning observer would conclude that Past Life had appropriated protected elements from Transience,” wrote Judge Barbara Jones yesterday (read ruling here). Transience writer Stevan Mena sued Fox Entertainment, Warner Bros Entertainment as well as producers David Hudgins and Craig Perry for copyright infringement last August. Produced by Warner Bros Television, Past Life debuted on February 9, 2010. With low ratings, Fox cancelled the show after three episodes. The screenwriter claimed that significant elements of the TV series were drawn from the script he wrote back in 2008. For instance, both do feature reincarnation, a child who has visions and is taken care of by a doctor and crime. However the judge ruled that there’s nothing unique about such story devices. Mena contends that his feature script made its way to Past Life creator Hudgins via Practical Pictures’ Perry and was the basis for the show. Read More »
Despite its best legal efforts today, Fox didn’t get a judge to shut down Dish Network’s ad-skipping Autohop and Primetime Anytime features. After hearing arguments from both sides, federal Judge Dolly Gee said she would take the broadcaster’s … Read More »
Alex Footman and Eric Glatt should not be allowed to enlarge their class action suit to include all Fox Entertainment Group interns, says Fox Searchlight. In a 24-page memorandum filed Wednesday in New York federal court (read it here), the studio claims that the request the former Black Swan interns’ made last month is speculative and not even plausible. Fox Searchlight did concede that former intern Eden Antalik could serve as a rep for interns in its NYC office. They did not do the same for Kanene Gratts, who served as an intern on (500) Days of Summer back in early 2008 in LA. Fox, who co-produced that film, claims that Gratts is time-barred under California law, which has a four-year statute of limitations. Read More »
The most successful movie of all time is not a rip off of a screenwriter’s unmade film and novel, the U.S. District court ruled today. “Bats And Butterflies is a children’s story with a simple protagonist,” said Judge Manuel Real, Monday in Los Angeles. “Avatar is a more complex story about a conflicted protagonist.” The judge went on to add that the two were “not substantially similar” to each other. Back in the beginning of the year, Elijah Schkeiban filed a copyright infringement suit against James Cameron, 20th Century Fox, the director’s Lightstorm Entertainment and production company Dune Entertainment claiming that 2009’s Avatar was based on his novel and subsequent film script. The two sides have been chipping away at it legally ever since with the defendants getting successfully getting two motions to dismiss and Schkeiban amending his complaint. Read More »
Night Moves might be stopped before it is even started. In a copyright infringement civil suit (read it here) filed Thursday, Edward R. Pressman Film and Clarke Abbey, widow of author Edward Abbey, are asking federal court to shut down the film because of its similarity to Abbey’s 1975 novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. Abbey and Pressman, who owns the film option to the novel, are also seeking unspecified damages from the defendants. And there are a lot of defendants named in the eight-page suit. Director Kelly Reichardt, her screenwriting partner Jonathan Raymond, Night Moves executive producers Todd Haynes, Larry Fessenden, Alejandro De Leon, Film Science, and RT Features CEO Rodrigo Teixeira are among those named. So is The Match Factory GmbH, the foreign sales agent for Night Moves, who was working at the Toronto Film Festival last week for the film. Also named as a defendant is UTA Independent Film Group. The agency division is the domestic sales agent for Night Moves. Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard are set to star. Read More »
The statute of limitations sank David Bergstein’s latest lawsuit against one of his former lawyers says a judge. Citing that the film financier’s claims against Teri Zimon for legal malpractice are subjected to a one-year statute of limitations under California law, Judge Alan Rosenfield granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment (read it here) on August 30. While this effectively throws the case against Zimon out and the $50M in damages that the film financier was seeking, Bergstein can still appeal the ruling. Read More »
The Evil Dead sequel is dead. A California federal court awarded Sam Raimi’s Renaissance Pictures a default judgment last week in its attempt to stop Awards Pictures from making an Evil Dead 4. In the four-page judgment (… Read More »
The Oscar winning director, the studio and screenwriter Mark Boal say the First Amendment protects them in use of elements of Jeffrey Sarver’s life in The Hurt Locker. “By any … Read More »