2ND UPDATE, 10:59 AM: So maybe no one told Lisa Kudrow that the legal system could be this way, but she’s not done with her Friends residuals battle with former manager Scott Howard yet. “The jury’s verdict is merely one step in the legal process,” Kudrow’s lawyer Gerald Sauer told me today about the roughly $1.6 million decision in Howard’s favor this morning. “This case ultimately will be resolved at the appellate level. Ms. Kudrow has faith in the judicial system, and she believes that the eventual outcome of this contractual dispute will be in her favor.” At least we know Sauer will be there for Kudrow.
UPDATE 12:08 PM: If Kudrow does aim to appeal, Howard’s lead attorney says bring it on. “What generally happens now with unsophisticated actress clients is they overpay for filing a frivolous appeal that has no chance for success,” said Mark Baute to me today. “The verdict is rock solid, and we look forward to collecting 10 percent, $16,000 a month, in post-judgment interest while their frivolous appeal is pending. We will collect that interest for two years, which is how long it will take for the Court of Appeal to affirm this jury’s righteous verdict.”
PREVIOUS, 9:05 AM: A jury today has ruled 10-2 against Lisa Kudrow in a long-in-the-system breach of contract lawsuit filed by her former manager Scott Howard. The trial in LA Superior Court’s Santa Monica Municipal Courthouse was over residuals from the actress’ hit series Friends. Howard will receive about $1.6 million in the suit against his once longtime client, whom he sued in August 2008. The initial filing claimed that Kudrow long ago verbally promised Howard commissions from lucrative residuals from the reruns and syndication from the 1994-2004 mega-sitcom and other projects – even after he was fired in 2007 after 16 years. In filings over the years and in testimony last week, Kudrow, who recently appeared on ABC’s Scandal, denied making any agreement. During the later years of the show, Kudrow, like other cast members, was making more than $1 million an episode. Testimony and deliberations in the civil suit wrapped Tuesday with the decision delivered today.
Mark Baute of LA firm Baute Crochetiere & Gilford LLP was Howard’s main attorney, though the manager had hired other firms in the past. Baute is also the primary lawyer in Nicollette Sheridan‘s long ongoing claims over her termination from ABC’s Desperate Housewives. Nearly two years after her first trial against ABC/Touchstone ended with a deadlocked jury, the actress was granted a new kick at the courtroom can late last month. Kudrow’s main lawyer was Gerald Sauer of LA’s Sauer & Wagner LLP.