Don Johnson’s $50 million award cut back to $15 million

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

In an earlier post, we told Miami readers about a lawsuit that TV actor Don Johnson had filed over compensation from his successful CBS series “Nash Bridges.”

At the time, Johnson and a production company were before an appeals court seeking to clarify whether the production company owed Johnson $50 million in compensation and interest, as a lower court had determined, or if it did not owe him anything at all because his claim was barred by a statute of limitations.

(Johnson owns 50 percent of the copyright to “Nash Bridges,” which has done quite well in syndication and reruns).

Earlier this week, the appeals court found that Rysher Productions did owe Johnson compensation, but not $50 million. Because of the lower judge’s errors in calculating interest and in promulgating faulty jury instruction, Johnson’s award was trimmed down to $15 million. The appeals court found that the judge should not have added interest (that was the jury’s job) but said there was nothing wrong with the jury’s finding that the agreement between Rysher Productions and Johnson meant Johnson was owed $15 million.

So, who won here? It’s hard to say. The production company wanted to pay Johnson nothing, but was that ever realistic? And while $15 million is a large sum of money, it’s less than what Johnson had thought for years was due to him. Who do you think came out on top here?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Don Johnson’s $50 million ‘Nash Bridges’ Award Cut To $15 Million On Appeal,” Eriq Gardner, Oct. 1, 2012