August 28, 2013 12:13pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Julianna Margulies, Ex-Manager Settling Commissions Lawsuit
The situation has calmed down immeasurably in Steve Dontanville's fight to collect post-termination commissions from Good Wife star Julianna Margulies.
Dontanville's management firm, D/F, which was fired in April, 2011, filed suit in July, 2012, alleging that it was owed at least $420,000 after counseling her to take her lucrative role for the CBS drama as well as become a spokesperson for L'Oreal cosmetics.
Later, the plaintiff suggested that millions of dollars would be at stake after Good Wife was sold into syndication. Dontanville wanted a 10 percent cut after representing her for many years, first as an agent at ICM and then at William Morris and finally as a personal manager.
The case appeared to be exploding after a judge allowed Dontanville to pursue claims. After an appeals court declined to intervene, a trial was scheduled for January. In advance of the proceedings, D/F suggested that it was unhappy with Margulies' conduct in the case while Margulies' legal team began to investigate possible dissatisfaction by D/F's other ex-clients.
In reaction to the lawsuit, Margulies made a counterattack. She alleged in counterclaims that her ex-manager had failed to provide the service that she expected and that Dontanville's behavior became a "source of embarrassment."
The actress' big legal argument to avoid the lawsuit brought by her ex-manager amounted to an attempt to show that an agreement over post-termination commissions had to be in writing. In June, a Los Angeles judge denied an attempt to have the case measured on New York law and statute of frauds.
Now, the dispute over whether it's customary in the entertainment industry to continue to pay post-termination commissions appears to be over. After the two sides were ordered into mediation, the parties found a way to resolve their differences. Settlement papers have yet to been executed, and terms remain unclear, but the breakthrough will likely head off any uncomfortable trial for Margulies.
D/F was represented by Mathew Rosengart of Greenberg Traurig. Margulies was represented by Sheldon Eisenberg and Ryan Fife of Drinker Biddle & Reath.