Remember Don Johnson? Haven't seen him on TV in a while? Neither have we, but he's going to be starring in a Los Angeles superior court trial next month, seeking tens of millions of dollars in profits from a post-Miami Vice TV series called Nash Bridges. In the show, Johnson played a fictional San Francisco police detective. Playing his lawyer in real life will be Mark Holscher of Kirkland & Ellis.
As we reported last year when the breach of contract suit was filed, Johnson's company, DJP Productions, claims that it is owed half the profits from the Nash Bridges series, which aired on CBS for six years in the late 1990s and has since been syndicated. To our surprise, DJP believes that the series has brought in more than $300 million in revenues. (Must be big in Europe.) DJP's suit names Rysher Entertainment, Qualia Capital, and 2929 Entertainment as defendants. According to a report by Courthouse News Service (link unavailable), Judge Michael Stern denied motions for summary judgment by the three defendants on Tuesday, setting up a June 21 trial date. Holscher confirmed Judge Stern's ruling, which was made from the bench.
"We very much look forward to presenting our case to a jury," Holscher told us.
Stephen Mick of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, who represents the three defendants, did not return our call for comment.
DJP claims that as a result of a contract it signed with Rysher back in 1994, it is the co-owner of the Nash Bridges copyright and is entitled to half the profits the series has earned. The suit blames not only Rysher for withholding DJP's share, but also 2929, a company owned and operated by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and his partner Todd Wagner. Johnson's theory is that Rysher was the "alter ego" of 2929. According to DJP's opposition to 2929's motion for summary judgment, Cuban and Wagner exploited Rysher's resources--including the Nash Bridges revenues--from November 2001 to March 2006.
Also named as a defendant under the alter ego theory is Qualia Capital, which DJP says is one of several Qualia entities controlled by a private equity fund called Canyon Partners. DJP claims in its opposition to Qualia's summary judgment motion that since Rysher was sold to Qualia Rysher Company LLC in 2006, various Qualia entities have taken over Rysher's resources, leaving it unable to meet its obligations to DJP.
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