Infoblurb ban leads to Gibbons lawsuit

TV personality Leeza Gibbons has filed an $8 million lawsuit against her former attorney for allegedly giving her advice that led to her being banned from doing infomercials.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in L.A. Superior Court, Gibbons asserts that attorney Kenneth L. Browning and the firm Browning, Jacobson & Klein improperly advised her that agreements with Paramount Pictures didn’t restrict her from doing infomercials.

As a result, the complaint states, Par sued Gibbons for appearing on a self-help infomercial by Tony Robbins (Daily Variety, Dec. 22, 1995), which the studio claimed violated the exclusivity terms of her contract for “Leeza,” her daytime talk show, which is distributed by Par domestic TV.

Gibbons claimed she was forced to agree to a settlement (Daily Variety, Oct. 23, 1996) that included the infomercial ban and forced her to sign with the studio through the year 2001 at a pay rate “far below that actually paid to persons of equal or lesser celebrity,” according to the lawsuit.

The complaint claims Browning, Jacobson drafted and negotiated Gibbons’ Par pacts and did the same with a contract with Guthy-Renker Corp. for an infomercial that led to the Par lawsuit.

The lawsuit also said that she was improperly induced by the law firm to sign fee agreements giving it talent agent fees even though neither Browning nor his firm had ever been licensed as talent agents in California.

The lawsuit seeks at least $8 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.

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