Actor Don Johnson
has resolved his lawsuit with the entertainment company that co-produced his series "Nash Bridges" after it paid him $19 million. The settlement capped a four-year legal battle over ownership of the popular 1990s cop show.
Johnson sued Rysher Productions in 2009, claiming his "Nash Bridges" contract from 1995 included a provision that made him a 50 percent owner, entitling him to a cut of the profits. Rysher argued he should only be eligible to receive licensing profits, or what's left over after paying distribution fees and production costs. The company also said it didn’t have the money because "Nash Bridges" was $40 million in the red.
Jurors sided with Johnson, and in 2010 Rysher was ordered to pay him $23 million in profits for the show, as well as an additional $28.5 million in interest.
"[The show] was my idea, and I owned the rights in the first place," Johnson said in a statement at the time of the ruling. "From the beginning, I have asked only that Rysher honor our contract, and I am so pleased that the jury agreed with me."
Johnson's attorney Mark Holscher told media at the time that the case was about more than just money for the actor.
"Not just on a financial level, but on a personal level, it was vindication that he was getting credit for his ideas," Holscher said.
Rysher was granted an appeal on the grounds of jury misconduct and, in October, a California appellate court again ruled in Johnson's favor but trimmed the original $50 million settlement down to $15 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter
Though both parties were expected to take the case all the way to the California Supreme Court, the dispute was ended for good this month when Rysher paid Johnson $19 million and the actor signed a document that ended the legal battle.
"Nash Bridges" aired on CBS from 1996 to 2001.
Johnson first rose to fame on the TV series "Miami Vice" in the lead role of James "Sonny Crockett. He also had a brief fling as a singer in the late 1980s and his hit single "Heartbeat" reached number five on Billboard.
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