A Santa Monica Superior Court judge Wednesday ruled that a $ 300 million suit brought against Aaron Spelling, his production company and Fox Broadcasting Co. in a licensing and merchandising dispute over “Beverly Hills, 90210” could go to trial.
The suit, brought by industry merchandiser Bing Broido, charges that Spelling entered into two contracts with Broido in 1983 to merchandise and license a TV show to be called “Holli Woods.”
The story’s premise was a brother and sister who grew up in the Midwest and moved to Hollywood and met up with the jet set, according to Broido’s attorney, Richard Morse, from the law office of Melvin Belli.
Broido’s suit claims that project eventually was the basis for “Beverly Hills , 90210.”
“It was even my client’s suggestion that Tori Spelling star in the project,” Morse said.
Yet attorneys representing Spelling and Fox say that Broido’s case is totally without merit.
“We firmly believe that Mr. Broido is never going to be able to prove his case,” said Maren Christensen of Rosenfeld, Myer and Sussman. “His claims are totally unfounded.”
Christensen noted that the judge dismissed most of Broido’s claims, including fraud, breach of contract and conversion.
“The fact is there never was a contract between Mr. Broido and Mr. Spelling,” Christensen said. The other attorney representing both defendants is David Karnes of the same firm.
Yet Morse disagrees, saying that his client was familiar with Fox and Spelling, having already held contracts with the studio on merchandising for “Dynasty” and had drawn up this agreement for a new show with merchandising potential.
On Wednesday, Spelling’s attorneys attempted to have the case thrown out in a demur hearing, but Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Irving Shimer upheld portions of the suit related to there being an implied contract, and ruled that there was enough merit for the case to go to trial.
Among the other charges kept in the suit were breach of fiduciary duty and intentional interference in a contractual relationship.
In addition to seeking $ 300 million in compensatory damages, based on estimated profits from the hit show and its spinoff, “Melrose Place,” the suit also seeks an estimated $ 900,000 in punitive damages. The damages are based on profits from the hit shows.