Julianna Margulies Sued by Former Managers Over Commissions
UPDATED: The suit says the managers got her on "Good Wife" and made her deal with L’Oreal but after she fired them, the actress stopped paying commissions, which amount to at least $420,000.
Julianna Margulies' former managers filed suit Monday charging that The Good Wife star owes them at least $420,000 for unpaid commissions and should continue to pay them 10 percent of what she makes on shows and for product deals that were signed while they were her representatives.
The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against Margulies and her “loan out” company Toast Productions on behalf of D/F Management, whose principals include Steve Dontanville, her former agent at ICM. The other principal of D/F is Frank Frattaroli. The suit was filed by L.A. attorney Mathew Rosengart. (Read the lawsuit here.)
Dontanville left ICM in 2000 after 17 years at the agency and joined the William Morris Agency, which he left in 2005. He became Margulies' personal manager in early 2009, according to the lawsuit, not long after she appeared in a short-lived TV series Canterbury’s Law. It was agreed she would pay her new managers 10 percent of whatever she earned from entertainment projects she initiated while they were guiding her career.
At ICM, says the suit, “Dontanville carefully helped take Margulies from a promising young newcomer to an internationally renowned television star who earned millions of dollars form her work on the television show ER and other projects.”
In February 2009, Margulies sent an e-mail to her new managers that allegedly said, “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be back in the right hands again.”
“Based in part on D/F Management’s tireless counsel and guidance” says the suit, "Margulies agreed to star in the then-forthcoming television series project, The Good Wife," which became one of the highest-rated new shows of 2009.
Margulies' role earned her a Golden Globe, two SAG Awards and an Emmy as outstanding lead actress in a drama series. When she won the SAG Award, she thanked her managers as well as her agent for their “dedication and support.”
D/F also played a role, per the suit, in Margulies signing what is described as a “extremely lucrative, multiyear contract” to be a spokesperson for L'Oreal cosmetics. The deal was signed by her agents at William Morris Endeavor, and a marketing executive at L’Oreal sent an e-mail to D/F saying, “Thanks to you and Steve for helping bring this to fruition.”
Despite her success, according to the suit, in summer 2010 Margulies started looking at ways she could reduce how much she paid her reps. She even discussed with D/F how to change her deal with her lawyer, who was getting 5 percent of her earnings, so she could put a “cap” on how much she paid him, according to the suit.
Then on April 29, 2011, Margulies allegedly terminated her management agreement with D/F.
Still, D/F says it expected the actress to follow “customs and practices” in the entertainment industry which “include ongoing payments … following termination … for any and all entertainment industry employment secured during the period that the management company was providing management services to the client.”
The suit says not only did Margulies terminate D/F “contrary to terms of the Contract, she wrongfully and inexplicably stopped all payments” thereafter to D/F.
Calls for comment to Margulies' publicist and attorney were not returned.