“Happy Days” Cast Members To Receive $345K in Royalties Lawsuit Settlement
July 6, 2012
Last month, Vincent Howard discussed a Los Angeles employment lawsuit in our Carson, California employment attorneys blog, where a Los Angeles judge ruled that five former actors from "Happy Days," the hit television show, can argue their right to receive royalties from the use of their images in merchandising before a jury this month--after CBS and Paramount Pictures Studios tried to have the claims dismissed, arguing that the actors were fairly paid.
In an interesting development this week, CBS reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement of the lawsuit, shortly before a trial was scheduled to begin. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the five "Happy Days" actors will each receive around $65,000 in the settlement, and will receive royalties in the future.
As Vincent Howard reported previously in Howard Law's Costa Mesa employment attorney blog, the former "Happy Days" actors who filed the lawsuit are Marion Ross, Anson Williams, Don Most, Tom Bosley's widow, Patricia Bosley. The lawsuit claimed that the cast members were never compensated for many years of home video and DVD releases, as well as licensed products and merchandising that used their voices and images during the show's run and for many years after, when the show was in syndication.
The television stars' lawsuit originally sought $10 million dollars, accusing CBS and Paramount of fraud, breach of contract, concealment, and bad business practices among other charges that all related to the royalties that the cast members felt they were owed. According to the lawsuit, although the actors all received different salary amounts on the television show, they had the same contracts in terms of "Happy Days" merchandising, which allegedly stated that if any images were used of them in a group, every actor should receive a certain percentage of the proceeds.
The Hollywood employment lawsuit claimed that the actors were unfairly given different deals, and that of the most well know stars from the show, Ron Howard and Henry Winkler, who were not part of this lawsuit, already received payments for merchandising rights. At the time of the settlement, the key issue in the lawsuit was reportedly how much money the actors were owed according to their contracts, which amounted to around $325,000 for all of the actors and their attorney.
In Orange County, California, contact Howard Law's Vincent Howard today at our Costa Mesa, California office for a free consultation about your labor and employment issue.
CBS, 'Happy Days' Cast Settle Royalties Lawsuit, The Hollywood Reporter, July 6, 2012
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