Entries in Supreme Court (2)


Lisa Kudrow May Take Legal Dispute with Ex-Manager to State Supreme Court

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- An attorney for Lisa Kudrow said he and the actress are considering taking a legal dispute with her former manager to the California Supreme Court.

The legal dispute began in 2008, when Kudrow's former manager, Scott Howard, sued her for refusing to pay him more than $50,000 in fees from her earnings from the television show Friends and other projects.

Last week, an appeals court ruled as admissible "expert" testimony that it is customary practice to pay managers a cut from projects received after a working relationship ends. Kudrow's lawyer has sought to keep that testimony out of the trial, which has not yet gone to a jury.

"The bottom line at this point in time is we are taking a look at possibly petitioning the California Supreme Court to look at the matter and at the same Ms. Kudrow is looking forward to having the matter decided in front of a jury if the matter proceeds to a trial court for a determination," said her attorney, Gerald Sauer of the law firm Sauer & Wagner LLP.

In 1991, Howard said the two had made an oral agreement that would receive a 10-percent cut of Kudrow's income, according to the lawsuit.

Starting in 1992, Kudrow had made recurring guest appearances on NBC's Mad About You. From 1994 through 2004, she starred as Phoebe in the hit series Friends. Toward the end of the series, she was entitled to 1.25 percent of profit from the show. For the last 18 episodes in 2004, Kudrow made $1 million an episode.

Howard and his company, Howard Entertainment Inc., did not return a request for comment.

In 2000 and 2004, the two modified their oral agreement to lower Howard's commission on certain earnings from Friends, eventually down to five percent, according to decision from the California court of appeal.

The recent declaration in question was submitted by Hollywood manager Martin Bauer on behalf of Howard.

Bauer said that "from at least the early 1980s, it had been the custom and practice in the entertainment industry for a personal manager to be paid post-termination commissions on the services that their clients rendered, and on engagements that their clients entered into, when the personal manager was representing them," according to the court filing.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court barred Howard from admitting the Bauer's testimony, and he granted Kudrow summary judgment. The appeals court reversed Wednesday, saying Bauer should be allowed to testify on remand, as reported by Courthouse News Service.

Kudrow's attorney said the court of appeals "obviously has taken a different view" than the lower courts.

"The court of appeals opinion by no means indicates there is an industry practice custom that would apply to this case," Sauer said. "We will be given an opportunity at trial that an industry custom did not exist when Kudrow and Howard entered into the original relationship in 1991."

Sauer, who said Kudrow would decline to comment, said they have until Oct. 1 to decide if they will file a petition with the California Superior Court.

When asked for his reaction to the now four-year-old case, Sauer said, "The legal process is one with twists and turns. You never know how long it is going to take."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Rules in Anna Nicole Smith's 15-Year Legal Battle

(FILE PHOTO) Anna Nicole Smith arrives at the U.S. Supreme Court February 28, 2006 in Washington, DC. regarding the estate of her late husband, Texas oilman J. Howard Marshall II. Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Chief Justice John Roberts, likening the case to a 19th century Dickens novel, announced Thursday that the court had found against the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, in a nearly 15-year battle waged to win millions of dollars from the estate of her former husband J. Howard Marshall II.

In a highly technical ruling a 5-4 majority of the court found that a bankruptcy court had exceeded its authority in originally awarding Smith over $400 million in damages.

"We conclude," Roberts wrote, "that, although the Bankruptcy Court had the statutory authority to enter judgment on [Anna Nicole Smith's] counterclaim, it lacked the constitutional authority to do so."

Anna Nicole Smith, a former Playboy Playmate, married J. Howard Marshall II (who was 60 years her senior) in 1994, about a year before his death.

Although he gave her money and gifts during their marriage she was not included in his will.

Anna Nicole Smith charged that Pierce Marshall, her husband's son, had fraudulently taken steps to prevent her from inheriting any of her husband's money.

Upon her husband's death she filed a petition for bankruptcy in California. That court originally awarded her $400 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.

Pierce Marshall challenged the award.

However, in 2006 Pierce Marshall died and a year later Anna Nicole Smith died, so the legal proceedings continued on behalf of their estates.

Smith's lawyer said that Thursday's ruling means his client's estate no longer has the right to the millions awarded by the bankruptcy court, but that there are continuing separate proceedings ongoing in other courts that leave open the possibility that Smith's estate could win some money from her former husband's estate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio