Dead men tell no tales, to riff off the title of the next Pirates Of The Caribbean pic, but old managers certainly can – and they can sue too. And that is exactly what Dodie Gold Management and Dodie Herskovitz has done to its former client Terry Rossio over 10% commissions they say they are owed the past two years for his writing and other work on the Pirates pics, Instant Karma, The Lone Ranger and more.
These cases come up all the time in Tinseltown and usually get resolved in a settlement, as was the case earlier this year with Bad Judge actress Kate Walsh and her battle with ex-reps at Evolution Entertainment. In this July 31 complaint (read it here), the plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial and damages of more than $25,000 plus a court declaration that they are entitled to the 10% commissions and a full look at the records and accounting of Rossio and his Chamaeleon Productions.
Of course this is a little different than other cases where an agency is suing over unpaid commissions because, under Cali’s Talent Agencies Act, managers can’t actually get work for clients, they can only procure – a useful splitting of hairs this complaint acknowledges. “Plaintiffs did not procure work for defendants,” the 12-page complaint notes. “To the degree Plaintiffs participated in negotiations on behalf of Defendants, all such services were provided in conjunction with and at the request of Defendants’ licensed talent agency.”
Detailing the litany of big projects that have contributed to Rossio’s success, Dodie Gold laid out in the filing how they represented the scribe from February 2002 to March 28, 2013, procuring him the swashbuckling Disney projects with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, along with his now-ex-writing partner Ted Elliott, and others. All was golden, it seems, with Rossio getting the high-paying gigs and Dodie Gold getting the 10% for helping to get him the high-paying gigs. Then, a little more than two years ago, Rossio left them — and that’s when the checks stopped coming to Dodie Gold as well as any accounting on how much Rossio was bringing in.
“Plaintiffs are informed and believe and, on the basis of such information and belief, allege that, within the past two years, Defendants began and have continued to fail and refuse to pay Plaintiffs their commissions on, and to account for, certain revenue and other amounts earned or received by Defendants, directly or indirectly, as a result of the Projects or otherwise related to entertainment industry engagements that were secured or substantially negotiated while Plaintiffs were serving as Defendants’ manager,” says the breach-of-oral-contract complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court by the management company and its owner Herskovitz.
Rossio is repped by CAA, who had no comment on this legal matter, and attorneys Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler and Feldman LLP. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is scheduled to come out on July 7, 2017 – by when this probably all will be sorted.
In this case, Matthew Oster and Anthony King of LA’s Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP are representing Dodie Gold Management and Dodie Herskovitz.