The show is long gone but the sequel to Don Johnson’s successful multi-million dollar Nash Bridges lawsuit lives on. Today an LA Superior Court judge tossed a motion by Cox Media to kill the complaint for over $48 million that their former subsidiary Rysher Entertainment first filed last summer. Judge Mel Red Recana’s ruling means the suit by Rysher, its present owners Qualia Capital and its past owners Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s 2929 Entertainment will likely see the parties fight further in front of a jury over who is really responsible for the $19 million that Johnson was finally paid in February last year. In response filings to the August 2013 complaint, Cox said that any responsibility they had ended in 2006, five years after they sold off Rysher. The judge today didn’t agree, obviously.
In 2010, Johnson was awarded 50% of the Nash Bridges copyright which entitled him to syndication rights on the series, which ran from 1996-2001 on CBS. Johnson had sued Rysher, 2929 Entertainment and Qualia Capital in 2009 for not living up to the contract he had with them on the series. Over the years following, the parties fought over the award, which at one point went up to $50 million and then down to $15 million before a settlement was reached. With Johnson now paid off and out of the immediate way, Rysher and the other two companies filed a complaint in August 2013, for contractual indemnity and declaratory relief against Cox. The latter company had sold Rysher in November 2001 to 2929 affiliates. In their August 2013 complaint, the trio of companies alleged that Cox had played a $71.4 million slight of hand write-down in Bridges production costs before that sale. The plaintiffs and their lawyers said in the August complaint that if it hadn’t been for that write-down the show wouldn’t have been calculated to have made $30 million and they wouldn’t have been liable to pay Johnson anything. They want to be paid back the $19 million to Johnson, $8.3 million in legal fees from that case and “at least $20.7 million in additional damages for future revenues due” to Johnson’s production company.
Cox Media is represented by Sheldon Eisenberg out of the L.A. office of Drinker Biddle. Hollywood heavyweight attorney Patricia Glaser of LA firm Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro leads a team of lawyers representing Rysher, 2929 Entertainment and Qualia Capital in the case.
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