'Hawaii Five-0' Lawsuit Settlement Falls Apart

Former talent agent George Litto's claims of being cut out of the CBS hit crime drama have been revived.
Norman Shapiro/CBS
"Hawaii Five-0"

The $100 million lawsuit over CBS' reboot of Hawaii Five-0 isn't over.

In March, we reported that on the eve of trial, a settlement was being finalized in a lawsuit brought by George Litto, the former agent of Hawaii Five-0 creator Leonard Freeman, who claims to have been cut out of financial participation from the series. But the parties couldn't execute an agreement and in the past couple of weeks there has been a flurry of new court papers suggesting that the heated case is again moving forward.

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Litto's claims against Freeman's heirs and CBS are premised upon a deal made in the mid-'90s, whereby Litto and Robin Freeman agreed to form a joint company L/F Productions in the interest of exploiting Hawaii Five-0. The former agent alleges that CBS and Freeman made a secret deal with each other to go around L/F in order to reboot the crime drama.

In explaining to the judge why the case shouldn't be dismissed, Litto's attorney last month said that the other side wanted Litto's daughter "to be personally liable for broad warranties, representations, covenants and indemnities in connection with Hawaii Five-O and L/F Productions LLC, in perpetuity."

Litto's side doesn't believe it is fair or appropriate to have the daughter "be personally saddled with lifetime liability," say court documents.

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So now the litigation is itself rebooted and looking like it is headed to a scheduled May trial date where a judge will first hear evidence and arguments about the deal that the parties made in the mid-'90s.

As that happens, the Freeman parties also are looking to amend their countersuit against Litto, which now claims he exploited a "40-year Machiavellian scheme" to "take advantage of Rose by transforming his relationship with her from talent agent to possible producer, to partner, to having, according to him, total control over Hawaii Five-0."

The Freeman side now wants to include a claim that would disassociate Litto from L/F Productions, saying that the entity is being neglected. Recent court papers argue that Litto's daughter has testified that Litto's company "is not currently undertaking any effort to exploit the Hawaii Five-O film rights, nor pursuing merchandising opportunities, nor communicating with the Trusts about company business."

A hearing on the motion to amend is scheduled for Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court and will likely examine whether such an amendment to the cross-complaint is coming too late.

E-mail: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com

Twitter: @eriqgardner