$48 Million Demand in ‘Nash Bridges’ Fight

      LOS ANGELES (CN) – Film and TV distributor Rysher Entertainment sued Cox Media for $48 million in a long-running legal dispute over profits to the TV series “Nash Bridges.”
     Rysher and its affiliates, 2929 Entertainment and Qualia Capital, sued Cox Media Group in Superior Court, seeking contractual indemnity.
     Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner, the billionaire owners of 2929, are not named as parties to the lawsuit.
     The claims stem from a 3-year-old, $15 million judgment against Rysher, in favor of “Nash Bridges” star and producer Don Johnson.
     Rysher claims in the lawsuit that a jury found in 2009 that $71.4 million in “Nash Bridges” production costs “were not deductible,” when it awarded Johnson his share of profits from the show.
     But Cox never revealed to 2929 Entertainment’s affiliates that it had reduced the book value of those production costs when the companies decided to buy Rysher from Cox in late 2001, according to the lawsuit.
     The purchase entitled the buyers to the first $191 million in “Nash Bridges” revenue, before any third-party producers, and shielded Rysher from liability for conduct prior to the sale, according to the complaint.
     Don Johnson Productions in 2009 claimed a 50 percent stake in the show, and sued Rysher, 2929 and Qualia for its share of profits. Cox refused repeatedly to indemnify Rysher against the claims, according to the lawsuit.
     The jury found Johnson entitled to $30 million in “Nash Bridges” profits, plus interest, for a total award of $52 million.
     The 2nd Circuit reversed the award of prejudgment interest, however, leaving Rysher on the hook for $15 million in damages, plus an additional $4 million in interest. Rysher claims it spent $8.3 million defending the lawsuit.
     “In upholding the $15 million damages award, the court of appeal cited a single justification for the award: that the write-down by Cox eliminated $71 million in production costs for purposes of calculating profits generated by ‘Nash Bridges,'” the complaint states.
     Rysher says it learned of the write-down and the obligations to Don Johnson when the jury found in favor of the star and producer.
     “Nor did Rysher, 2929 Entertainment, or Qualia have reason to believe that any excluded liability or liability in respect of the conduct of Rysher’s business prior to the closing date remained unsatisfied until the jury award in the DJP [Don Johnson Productions] action,” the lawsuit states.
     The complaint states that the write-down is “clearly a liability” that obligates Cox to indemnify Rysher.
     Rysher wants to recoup the $19 million judgment and interest paid to Johnson, $20.7 million in damages and future “Nash Bridges” revenue, and costs of $8.3 million.
     “Nash Bridges,” created by writer and executive producer Carlton Cuse, starred Johnson and Cheech Marin as San Francisco police investigators. It aired for six seasons on CBS, from 1996 to 2001.
     Rysher is represented by Patricia Glaser with Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro.
     Cox Media spokesman Andy McDill said he could not comment on pending litigation

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