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11
2 YEARS

Don Johnson Gets $19 Million to End 'Nash Bridges' Dispute

Instead of another appeal, the parties resolve a high-profile dispute over money owed from the 1996-2001 CBS cop drama.

Don Johnson
David Livingston/Getty Images

Don Johnson's fight over money from Nash Bridges is officially over.

In 2010, Johnson scored a big $50 million courtroom victory in his lawsuit against Rysher Entertainment. Last October, the award was cut to $15 million on appeal.

Both sides could have continued the battle to a higher appeals court, but recent court papers submitted at the Los Angeles Superior Court reveal that at the end of January, Rysher wired nearly $19 million to Johnson's production company.

Johnson has now signed an acknowledgment of satisfaction of the judgment.

Johnson's lawsuit against Rysher became a big deal in the summer of 2010 when it went to a jury trial.

The actor claimed that his 1995 deal with Rysher entitled him to half-ownership of Nash Bridges if it lasted 66 episodes. The show lasted 122 episodes.

Johnson sued for 50 percent of the show's money. At trial, his attorneys pointed to the profits the 1996-2001 drama made from re-reruns.

In response, Rysher believed that Johnson's compensation should be dictated by a contractual provision on "adjusted gross receipts" or the licensing profits that Rysher attained for the series after certain distribution fees and production costs. Rysher maintained that the series was a very expensive show to produce, and that Nash Bridges was $40 million the red.

A jury awarded Johnson $23.2 million, and then, the judge awarded interest, ballooning the total award to $50 million.

In October, a California appellate court said that the trial judge was right to throw the ambiguities of Johnson's contract to a trial, but also trimmed the $50 million down to $15 million because of a finding that both the judge and jury had improperly determined prejudgment interest.

Now the dispute has been solved. Rysher will get some money back since it deposited nearly $44 million in January 2011 with the Los Angeles County Treasurer to stay enforcement of the trial award pending appeal.

The company was represented by Bart Williams of Munger Tolles & Olson at trial and John Taylor at Horvitz & Levy on appeal. Rysher was also represented by Theodore Boutrous Jr. and others at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Johnson was represented by Mark Holscher and Christopher Landau of Kirkland & Ellis.

Correction: The original post stated that Rysher is now owned by Mark Cuban's and Todd Wagner's 2929 Entertainment. Rysher was sold by the company in 2006.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner