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Is a ‘Reality’ Show Star an Actor?

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A producer of the "Dog the Bounty Hunter" TV show challenged a Labor Commission ruling that he acted as an unlicensed talent agent for Duane 'Dog' Chapman, and must pay $500,000 to the bounty hunter.

Boris Krutonog and Pivot Point Entertainment sued Duane "Dog" Chapman and his wife, Alice Barmore-Smith, who appeared with him in the show.

The California Labor Commissioner in October ruled that Krutonog violated the Talent Agencies Act by claiming producer's fees for managing and representing Chapman and his wife.

Krutonog has challenged that decision in Superior Court, and wants a new trial to resolve the 5-year old dispute.

Chapman claimed that Krutonog acted as an unlicensed talent agent to secure producer fees from A&E Television Network under life right agreements.

But Krutonog countered that Chapman was not an actor or artist under the Talent Agencies Act-just a professional bounty hunter and bail bondsman appearing in a documentary style show, according to the Labor Commission ruling, which is attached to the complaint.

Chapman filed a petition against Krutonog and his loanout company Pivot Point Entertainment in March 2007, but after seven days of hearings over 2 years, the dispute remained unresolved.

This year attorney Robert Villalobos presided as a hearing officer after the first judge, James Osterday, retired.

Villalobos concluded that while the Labor Commission could not void the life rights agreement between the parties, Chapman was entitled to roughly $539,450 for violations of the Talent Agencies Act.

But Villalobos wasn't present at any hearings and "had no opportunity to evaluate the credibility of witnesses or their testimony," Krutonog says in his new, 4-page complaint.

Krutonog claims he submitted a notice of appeal to the court on Nov. 9, 2012 but the clerk of the court has questioned if the notice can be filed without a bond or "undertaking."

But California labor law "does not require that an undertaking or bond be filed as a condition to filing an appeal" under the Talent Agencies Act, Krutonog claims.

"A justiciable controversy therefore exists in that plaintiffs contend that they timely tendered the notice of appeal to this court and that this court should have accepted it for filing, and that, plaintiffs are informed and believe, defendants deny those contentions," the complaint states.

"Dog the Bounty Hunter" ran for eight seasons before A&E announced its cancellation this year.

Krutonog seeks judgment that his appeal was timely submitted to the court. He is represented by Howard King of King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner.

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