HGTV Star Jamie Durie Beats His Former Talent Manager In Court

Failure to pay taxes is one of the reasons why the guy who supposedly brought Durie to American TV won't be getting credit.
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A federal judge has tossed Lance Reynolds' claims he deserved "executive producer" credit and compensation for bringing Oprah Winfrey's favorite gardening expert, Jamie Durie, to American television on HGTV's The Outdoor Room. (SEE UPDATE BELOW.)

Reynolds made his claims earlier this year, contending that through his Atlantic Talent Management company (ATM) he had helped Durie achieve fame by introducing him to television network executives. The efforts eventually landed Durie a show on HGTV. Reynolds says that Durie agreed to pay ATM 15 percent of his earnings in commissions and provide a 51 percent ownership stake in The Outdoor Room to Atlantic Films and Television (AFT), an affiliate of ATM.

In 2008, the parties disputed the business relationship and supposedly came to some sort of oral agreement whereby Reynolds was to get an EP credit and compensation for The Outdoor Room.

In the lawsuit, Reynolds claims these agreements were breached. But the case hasn't survived very far.

In a ruling last week, California judge Jacqueline Nguyen dismissed the breach-of-contract claims because the plaintiff had failed to sufficiently allege delivery of the signed agreements. The judge wouldn't accept word that the settlement agreement had been "confirmed" by emails, saying that didn't constitute sufficient delivery.

Additionally, the terms of the personal management agreement lasted through June 26, 2007. The judge finds that the statute of limitations ran out in 2009, well before the June 13, 2011 lawsuit filing date.

Among the various other reasons why Reynolds' other claims have been dismissed is that Reynolds didn't actually have standing to bring a lawsuit over deals that Durie allegedly made with ATM and AFT. Reynolds had argued that the companies were actually his fictitious business names, but the judge agreed with the defense's contention that Reynolds was trying to circumvent an "inconvenience." 

Unfortunately for Reynolds, according to the decision, his companies has been suspended for failure to pay California taxes and thus are barred from bringing legal action like this. "There is simply no sufficient allegation that Plaintiff ever performed services for Defendants in his individual capacity," writes Judge Nguyen. "As such, Plaintiff may not disregard the corporate status in order to serve his own interests."

UPDATE: A judge has reconsidered the decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought by talent manger Lance Reynolds who claimed he deserved "executive producer" credit and compensation on HGTV's The Outdoor Room, starring Jamie Durie, who he had represented. Last December, a judge tossed the lawsuit because Reynolds hadn't proven that settlement agreements that purportedly gave him the credit and confirmation had been confirmed. After the decision, Reynolds found an email between him and Durie's agent that he said constituted "newly discovered" evidence. Durie disputed the evidence, but on Wednesday, the judge ruled it represented material new facts and is allowing Reynolds to file an amended complaint by May 21.


Twitter: @eriqgardner

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