UPDATE, 10:01 AM: The start date for the multimillion-dollar jury trial was pushed back to January 25 today by Judge Gregory Alarcon. It had been set to begin January 14. Based on a tentative ruling circulated earlier by the judge that granted rights to CBS to examine Bellisario’s medical records and take depositions from three of his doctors, the studio sought to have the start date pushed back until at least February 2013. Bellisario’s lawyer Ronald Nessim argued to keep the start date as close to the original as possible. Both sides and the judge acknowledged that the upcoming holidays, the court’s crowded schedule and the time needed for both sided to conduct interviews would push the case forward. “A week before a trial of this magnitude I don’t want to be taking doctors’ depositions, I want to be working on my opening argument”, CBS Studios lawyer Scott Edelman told the court. The judge noted the tight schedule, and urged both sides to find a way to strike a deal; at one point, Edelman accused Nessim of being a “Christmas Scrooge” for his proposed compressed schedule. The date was eventually scheduled from the bench. It is likely Bellisario and his wife will also be interviewed by both sides about his medical condition. A final status conference before the trial is set for January 18.
PREVIOUS, 9:01 AM: Lawyers for Don Bellisario and CBS are set to face off at a hearing over the producer’s multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the network for profits from NCIS: Los Angeles. At issue this morning in LA Superior Court downtown is whether the JAG and NCIS creator’s recently revealed neurological disorder will delay the trial. Despite having made more than $116 million from his CBS shows over the years, Bellisario sued last April over breach of contract and the covenant of good faith for profits from NCIS: LA. This morning, CBS wants Judge Gregory Alarcon to push back the January 14 trial start date so it can look at Bellisario’s medical records and talk to his doctors to determine whether his “water on the brain” condition could have prevented him from performing his duties as a network showrunner. Lawyers for the 77-year-old Bellisario, who was let go from NCIS in 2007 after star Mark Harmon threatened to quit, want to squash that attempt, a move CBS has called “stonewalling” in legal documents for “trying to leverage Bellisario’s medical condition in their own favor.”