Don Johnson legal battle concludes

Rysher hands over $19 million in dispute over 'Nash Bridges'

Don Johnson’s legal battle over revenue from his 50% ownership in the 1990s series “Nash Bridges” has ended, with producer Rysher Entertainment paying him almost $19 million.

His victory came after protracted litigation that went to trial, bolstering claims in the creative community that companies will do their best to shortchange profit and revenue participants even with the most lucrative of deals. Johnson had an unusual 50% ownership in the “Nash Bridges” copyright, negotiated before the series 1996 premiere, but contended that Rysher Entertainment all but ignored the contractual provision. Rysher had claimed that Johnson’s share should have been calculated by an adjusted gross receipts definition, under which the series operated at a substantial deficit.

A jury sided with Johnson in 2010, awarding him $15 million plus interest, an amount that eventually rose to almost $44 million when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern added prejudgment interest calculated annually at 10% from May 22, 1998.

But in October, a California appellate court cut the award down to $15 million plus interest, ruling that the actor could continue to collect interest but from July 12, 2010, the date of the jury verdict.

Court records show that Rysher wired the money to Johnson’s production company on Jan. 30, and Johnson’s attorney, Mark Holscher of Kirkland & Ellis, signed an acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment.