Judge strikes fraud claim from $10 million claim
The Fonz would surely give a thumbs-down to the latest development in the "Happy Days" cast's lawsuit against CBS.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White handed down some bad news to Marion Ross, Don Most, Anson Williams, Erin Moran and the widow of "Happy Days" star Tom Bosley — who died last year — on Wednesday, siding with CBS on the fraud portion of the suit.
Read the full decision here.
In the suit, the cast alleged that CBS — which owns the rights to the series — had withheld revenues statements for merchandising from them, with the intention of holding out on them. However, Judge White determined that the schedule to provide statements was too vague to prove that they were intentionally withheld.
"The exact details of this alleged promise to provide periodic revenue statements when merchandising revenue had been generated have not been pled with the requisite level of specificity required, such as, who said exactly what to whom and they those representations were known to be false when made," White ruled.
In light of the decision, White ruled that the cast members could not seek punitive damages. When the trial begins in June 2012, they will only be able to pursue breach of contract claims.
The actors had been seeking $10 million.
In a statement provided to TheWrap, CBS said of the judge's decision, "We are thrilled that the court has thrown out all claims for punitive damages and significantly narrowed this to a case of contract interpretation.”
Back in April, CBS admitted that some revenues were owed to the cast members and that it has been "working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue."
According to the suit, the actors' contracts stated that they were to receive 5 percent of net proceeds on merchandise — 2 1/2 percent if a group image was used.
Documents provided to the actors by CBS claim that they're only owed between $8,500 and $9,000, covering the past four years.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.