“Nash Bridges” copyright verdict questioned on appeal

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

Do you remember the show “Nash Bridges”? It was quite a popular police show on CBS and it made a big star out of its lead actor, Don Johnson.

Two years ago, Johnson won an eye-opening lawsuit after he sued the production company that produced the show, claiming it was depriving him of profits to which he was entitled per his 50 percent stake in the copyright of the show. The jury awarded Johnson some $23.2 million in damages, but what really raised eyebrows is how the judge raised that amount to $50 million after factoring in interest.

However, on appeal, the production company argued that jurors were confused. It claimed that when they reached the $23.2 million figure, they had already figured in interest — something only the judge is supposed to do. The studio’s attorneys claimed that the whole result was irreparably flawed and that a new trial was the only remedy. They even went so far as to claim juror misconduct.

The production studio also alleged the judge was mistaken in calculating interest and that he did not pay enough attention to the contract and hence interpreted it correctly.

According to one reporter who was in court as arguments were being heard, at least one justice on the three-member panel “appeared sympathetic” to the production company’s argument. Johnson and his wife were in attendance, but Johnson did not testify.

(The studio also tried to raise an argument relating to a statute of limitations issue, but its attorneys did not seem to get too far with that argument.)

The appellate court will reach its decision in 90 days.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Don Johnson’s $50 million ‘Nash Bridges’ Award At Risk in Court Appeal,” Eriq Gardner, July 27, 2012