7:03pm PT by Matthew Belloni
'Happy Days' Cast Suffers Setback in $10 Million Lawsuit Against CBS
Cast members of Happy Days have suffered a setback in their $10 million lawsuit over merchandising revenue from the hit sitcom. A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday threw out a claim that CBS committed fraud by shortchanging them money from slot machines featuring their faces and other consumer products that have been licensed over the years.
The decision by Judge Elizabeth Allen White means the actors— Marion Ross, Don Most, Anson Williams, Erin Moran and the widow of Tom Bosley (he died last year) — cannot receive punitive damages at the trial, which is scheduled for June 2012.
“We are thrilled that the court has thrown out all claims for punitive damages and significantly narrowed this to a case of contract interpretation,” CBS tells The Hollywood Reporter in statement.
Jon Pfeiffer, attorney for the actors, told CNN his clients intend to press forward with the suit. In April, the group sued CBS for $10 million claiming they never received revenue statements related to merchandising from the 1974-1984 series, and that CBS never intended to pay them. The actors say their contracts granted them 5% of net proceeds, or 2 1/2% if their images were used in a group.
CBS, represented by attorneys Andrew White and Keri E. Campbell, responded with a motion to dismiss several claims in the suit, and the judge has now granted that request with respect to the fraud, concealment and conversion claims. The breach of contract case will continue.