Simpson residuals OK'd for Goldmans
EmptyA Los Angeles judge tentatively agreed Tuesday to assign any studio residual payments owed O.J. Simpson to the family of murder victim Ron Goldman, according to attorneys for the family.
The family had petitioned Judge Gerald Rosenberg to take such an action because it has had difficulty collecting on a 1997 civil court ruling awarding $33.5 million to the Goldmans and relatives of Simpson's murdered ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.
Attorneys representing the Goldmans sought the right to have residuals for Simpson's work in movies like the "Naked Gun" franchise and TV projects sent directly to the family instead of to Simpson. Los Angeles attorney Peter Haven, part of the Goldman legal team, said the strategy aims to set a precedent over the family's rights to such residuals even though the flow of money might be minuscule at present.
"I wouldn't be surprised today if it's very, very small," Haven said. "But the precedential value in our opinion is very significant because if there are any future payments for other projects this creates precedent that we also have the right to go after those potential payments as well."
Once Rosenberg issues a final ruling, it is expected that the order will be served on SAG and any other parties involved in the flow of residuals to Simpson. The guild already has had related records subpoenaed, and a SAG representative said the residuals matter likely would be handled much as with any other court order involving the garnishment of a member's wages.
"They subpoenaed information, and we will comply with the subpoena," national deputy executive director Pamm Fair said. "We would know what residuals have been issued and sent to the Screen Actors Guild for issuing to O.J. Simpson. If in fact there's a garnishment (to) send checks to a third party, we could comply."
Goldman attorneys said they also are investigating whether the ruling can be applied to any income Simpson made from the recent ill-fated TV project "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened." News Corp. and the Fox network pulled the plug on the Simpson interview show before it aired, and a related book project also was shelved.
"We are thrilled with this decision," said Jonathan Polak of Sommer Barnard, an Indianapolis law firm also representing the Goldmans in the residuals matter. "Though we don't know what the proceeds will be, there is still money to collect. This is a very big step toward the Goldman family's finally collecting on the judgment owed to them."