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Roddenberry ex-wife wins ‘Trek’ suit

Eileen Roddenberry has arrived where few others have gone before.

Late last week, the former wife of “Star Trek”‘ creator Gene Roddenberry won her case against Norway, the company her late husband had created.

As a result, she will collect an estimated $ 4.5 million to $ 6.5 million in back residuals from a 1969 divorce settlement, coming from profits on the original “Star Trek” TV program, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

In addition, a Los Angeles jury awarded her $ 900,000 in punitive damages for Norway’s accounting procedures.

The lengthy trial began in 1987 when Eileen Roddenberry brought suit, claiming her ex-husband and Paramount Pictures had concealed profits from the television and film ventures tied in with “Star Trek.”

Par was subsequently dropped from the suit.

As part of the couple’s original divorce settlement, Eileen Roddenberry had agreed to give up her participation in Norway in exchange for half interest in all of Gene Roddenberry’s future profit participation from “Star Trek.” The two had been married for 27 years, during which time Roddenberry came up with the idea for “Star Trek.”

Though her ex-husband, who died in October 1991, had claimed that “Star Trek” never made any profits, Eileen filed suit to go after those profits in 1987.

The first phase of the suit (Daily Variety, June 11, 1992) centered on whether the clause in the divorce agreement concerned only the original TV show, all of the TV spinoffs, and/or the feature film projects.

In June 1992, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Macklin Fleming ruled that the simply worded clause gave Eileen Roddenberry half of all “Trek” television projects.

During the ensuing phase of the trial, a jury decided that Norway had acted fraudulently in attempting to conceal profits from Roddenberry, thus awarding her $ 900,000 in punitive damages.

In addition, she will receive 50% of any profits awarded to Roddenberry’s estate from future television profits or spinoffs.

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