Claim says MGM owes $378,396, plus interest

The estate of Dorothy Brooks has sued MGM for failure to pay monies from the sale of “Mr. Ed” on DVD and VHS.

The estate representing the creators of the early 1960s skein says that MGM owes it at least $378,396, plus interest, for homevid sales.

The breach of contract complaint, filed on June 27 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, cites two “best of” DVD collections released in 2004 and 2005, and “Mister Ed’s Barnyard Favorites,” which bowed later in 2005 and contained episodes previously released in the 2004 collection.

The estate contends that homevideo releases fall under a 1959 agreement between Dorothy Brooks, widow of Walter Brooks, who created the characters in a short story, and Arthur Lubin. The original agreement, drafted when the TV skein was being developed, does not address homevid, which had yet to be created, but does grant Lubin the right to distribute, sell or license “or in any other manner to exploit” the show for profit.

The original agreement stipulates that the estate has a right to share in 25% of the net proceeds from “the exploitation of the enterprise” and merchandizing of it. It contends that MGM, which acquired the rights from Orion, has refused to provide an accounting of homevid sales and related costs.

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