Judge Rules in $100 Million Dispute Over 'Hawaii Five-0' THR
A ruling by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge in a $100 million lawsuit over "Hawaii Five-0" handed a victory to CBS and the late widow of the show's creator, Leonard Freeman, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq.
The lawsuit was filed by George Litto, who was Freeman’s agent when the show first ran on CBS.
“When Freeman passed away in 1974, Litto renegotiated a deal with CBS giving the network the right to produce the show in the future and shifted responsibility for production from Freeman's company to CBS. In return, CBS gave Rose Freeman a substantial stake in the show and a sweetheart arrangement in which it wouldn't be allowed to recoup production overages,” the story notes.
But later, after a dispute between CBS and Rose Freeman, Litto and Freeman created an agreement to set up a joint venture to profit from future productions. Then, when CBS was looking as reviving the franchise, the network made a deal with Freeman and not with Litto or their joint company.
“In the lawsuit, Litto contended that he was wrongfully cut out of an allegedly improper deal that gave back the benefits of the 1974 agreement,” the story notes.
The report adds: “Earlier this month, Judge Elizabeth Allen White conducted a trial over how to interpret the 1997 agreement between Litto and Freeman. After considering the evidence, she now has issued a proposed statement of decision that the deal didn't transfer rights to the CBS series, and thus, Litto must fail in claims of having been usurped on the later arrangement between Freeman and CBS.”
The Freeman family said in a statement it is “immensely gratified and relieved” by the decision. An attorney for Litto said the decision “will not withstand appeal.”