Former “Judge Judy” and “Judge Joe Brown” director Jerry Kupcinet has sued Michael Eisner and his Tornante Company, alleging breach of contract and fraud over his work for and later firing from “Judge Faith,” reports TheWrap.com.
“Kupcinet alleges that he was removed from the show he helped create and the breach of contract cost him substantial fees as both an executive producer and director for ‘Judge Faith.’ Instead, he claims he and his Jerry Kupcinet Productions have received no compensation for the three months of work on the pilot,” the story reports.
The lawsuit also names Trifecta Entertainment and Hank Cohen, its chief executive.
The legal filing claims Cohen asked Kupcinet to produce and direct the “Judge Faith” pilot based on an oral agreement, although a later written agreement allegedly failed to mention the terms of the oral agreement, the story says. Kupcinet “was advised it was to show Trifecta’s ownership of the show, which was necessary to sell it,” the story says, citing the lawsuit.
The article adds: “This misrepresentation of the meaning of the written document constitutes fraud, according to the document, as Trifecta failed to inform him that signing it would render the oral agreement he had established with Cohen null and void. Instead, Kupcinet alleges he was misled into [believing] the document was only about ownership of the show.”
After Kupcinet Production produced the pilot, taking on the costs, Eisner allegedly wanted Kupcinet out, with Cohen reportedly delivering the news. After that, the show was picked up in syndication toward a national debut, the story adds.
“Kupcinet is seeking compensation for his work on the show, as well as credit as an executive producer and director, and that a trust be imposed on all money wrongfully obtained by the defendants as a result of Kupcinet’s work on the ‘Judge Faith’ pilot. He further asks that the written agreement be rescinded, as well as court costs and damages,” the story reports.