Lisa Kudrow will have to dig deep to pay money owed to her former manager.
BBC News reports that a Los Angeles court has ordered the former Friends star to pay Scott Howard $1.6-million (U.S.) owed to him from earnings received from syndication residuals.
To the current generation of TV viewers, Kudrow is best known for playing the character of Phoebe Buffay on Friends, which ran 10 seasons on NBC from 1994 to 2004.
By the end of the show’s run, Kudrow was earning more than $1-million an episode.
Following Friends’ original broadcast on network television, the series immediately went into second-run syndication and earned millions more in royalties for Warner Bros. and the stars.
Howard filed the lawsuit in 2008 claiming that he was entitled to five per cent of Kudrow’s earnings according to their original contract. Howard served as Kudrow’s manager for 16 years before she ended their contract in 2007.
In an earlier lawsuit, the judge ruled in Kudrow’s favour but Howard filed an appeal.
For the more recent trial, the defence was allowed to call expert witness Martin Bauer, a veteran Hollywood agent who told the jury he had never had a commission cut off because he had been fired.
“I would never make that deal,” said Bauer during his testimony. “The only consequence of a termination is on future projects.”
During the course of the trial, Kudrow claimed she and Howard had entered an oral agreement in which the actress would pay a cut of money based only on the first round of Friends repeats.
Kudrow said that Howard initially refused her terms, but later relented.
But since none of those terms had been submitted in writing, the jury voted in favour of Howard’s assertion that Kudrow was liable for breach of contract.
And we should probably expect to see Kudrow back in court in the near future: The actress has denied agreeing on the payments and plans to appeal the new verdict.
“The jury’s verdict is merely one step in the legal process,” said Kudrow’s lawyer, Gerald Sauer. “Ms. Kudrow has faith in the judicial system and she believes that the eventual outcome of this contractual dispute will be in her favour.”