March 04, 2011 2:35pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Now It's War: Warner Bros. Hires Big-Time Lawyers to Handle Charlie Sheen Case (Exclusive)
Warner Bros. Television isn’t screwing around in its legal battle with Charlie Sheen over the implosion of Two and a Half Men. We’ve learned that the studio has hired Ron Olson (left) and John Spiegel of LA’s powerhouse Munger Tolles & Olson firm to deal with the situation.
Olson and Spiegel, who have represented Warner Bros. on a number of high-stakes matters (including, ironically, its litigation a few years back with CBS over profits from Two and a Half Men), have been in contact with Sheen attorney Marty Singer, although we understand the lawyers have not yet discussed specifics. The Munger firm is one of L.A.’s most prestigious, especially when it comes to high-stakes litigation.
Earlier this week, Singer sent a blistering letter to Warner Bros. and CBS threatening a lawsuit if the network and studio don’t restart production on TV’s most-watched sitcom. We’ve also learned that a second letter was sent, this one accusing the network and studio of looking the other way as Sheen was arrested and linked to porn stars but then overreacting and shutting down production when Sheen made incendiary comments about Men co-creator Chuck Lorre (which Sheen says were in response to insults lobbed by Lorre in his vanity cards that air after his shows).
We’ve also learned that Sheen’s deal with Warners includes an arbitration clause, meaning that if the actor follows through on his threats to sue, the case would likely be decided privately. However, Sheen has no contract with Lorre, whom Sheen claims is ultimately responsible for the show’s shutdown, so any legal action against Lorre would likely be litigated in court.