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Court trims verdict over 'Nash Bridges' profits

Tuesday - 10/2/2012, 8:12am  ET

By ANTHONY McCARTNEY
AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A divided appellate court on Monday upheld Don Johnson's multimillion jury award over profits from the series "Nash Bridges" but significantly reduced the amount the actor is eligible to receive.

The California 2nd District Court of Appeal panel voted 2-1 to uphold a verdict that determined the actor was owed millions from the hit series, but the panel cut the amount from $23.2 million down to $15 million.

The appeals court also limited the amount of interest the actor is eligible to receive, erasing an additional award of more than $28 million that a judge granted the actor. Johnson will receive interest on the award, but only an amount calculated from the date of the original verdict in July 2010.

The justices determined that jurors erred when they took into account that Johnson might have earned interest payments while fighting the case, which ended in 2010 with the multimillion verdict. The panel decided to add 5 percent interest to the original $15 million amount they agreed Johnson should receive, according to the opinion released Monday.

Johnson's award was appealed by the series' producers and financiers, Rysher Entertainment, 2929 Entertainment and Qualia Capital.

One justice agreed with the companies that Johnson's verdict should be overturned because his claims were barred by the statute of limitations, but two justices sided with the actor.

"Nash Bridges" aired for six seasons on CBS.

"`Nash Bridges' has been my baby since its inception and I've fought for years for my interest under our contractual agreement," Johnson wrote in a statement, adding that he was gratified that the appeals court ruled in his favor. He sued over his stake in the show in February 2009.

Defense attorneys handling the case were not immediately available for comment. The companies could appeal Monday's ruling to the California Supreme Court.

They argued at trial that the series was costly to produce and that was why Johnson hadn't been paid more.

Johnson was awarded half of the show's copyrights at trial, which made him eligible to receive continued profits from the show as long as it remains in syndication. His attorney Mark Holscher also praised the ruling, and a news release from his firm stated that the series is expected to earn more than $50 million in the coming years.

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)