CBS won’t be getting caught up in the rough currents of a Hawaii Five-O lawsuit after all. Monday the network was released from a lawsuit filed in May by the agent of Hawaii Five-O creator Leonard Freeman. “Defendant CBS Studios Inc.’s, erroneously sued as CBS Television Network, (“CBS”) Demurrer is sustained without leave to amend,” wrote LA Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon in his tentative ruling (read it here) made final Monday. While the network could be pulled back into the case on appeal, they are out of the case for now. “We appreciate the court’s ruling and are pleased that it brings an appropriate conclusion to our involvement in this lawsuit,” said a CBS spokesman today. Though many of his claims were substantiated, it was time that worked against Freeman’s former agent George Litto - specifically how long it took Litto to file his $10 million suit against the Freeman heirs and adding CBS to the complaint last fall. Litto contended in his suit that the heirs and CBS shut him out of 2010 negotiations for the reboot of the original series that ran from 1968 to 1980. After the 1974 death of Freeman, Litto and the producer’s widow Rose came to an agreement that gave him substantial rights in connection with future versions of the series.
However, despite that long standing deal, Litto claimed that the 2010 agreement between the heirs and CBS cheated him out of millions. Maybe, but he should have done something about it earlier said the judge yesterday. “Plaintiff instituted this current action over 2 years after the 2010 Amendment was signed. CBS has already produced the television series and to restore the consideration would essentially require CBS to “un-make,” or in the alternative, pull what has become a very popular television series. Such a drastic remedy would substantially prejudice CBS, particularly in light of the fact that the thrust of Plaintiff’s action is not that the terms of the 2010 Amendment are inherently unfair, but that the compensation under the agreement is going to the wrong party,” wrote Judge Alarcon. Which also means that while CBS is essentially clear and free, the Freeman heirs are not and will be facing more from Litto in court. Litto is represented by Henry Gradstein of LA firm Blecher & Collins.
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