The Hollywood Litigation I heard about today was re the movie Swing Vote. The following was reported from Wikipedia regarding the dispute.
Bradley Blakeman, a former deputy assistant for appointments and scheduling to President George W. Bush, filed a lawsuit on August 7, 2008, stating that he gave Kelsey Grammer a copyrighted screenplay titled Go November in 2006. The lawsuit, filed at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Long Island, New York, is against Grammer, Kevin Costner (co-financier), The Walt Disney Company (owner of the film rights), Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group Inc. (production company) and Touchstone Pictures (distributor), and claims that the plot and marketing elements of Swing Vote were stolen from him.
The case was dismissed against all defendants except Kelsey Grammer and Brad and his litigation Attorneys thought the case was going so poorly that they agreed to settle for merely $10 which the actor gave them to go away. Ironic that merely paying to see a movie these days is at least that. While the description above sounds more plausible for a lawsuit then some similar Hollywood type lawsuits I have heard of before it must have been a case with no chance of success at that point. While it is important to pursue ones rights when they believe they have a cause and as a matter of public policy in Florida statutes say that a no contest clause in wills or trusts are not enforceable. However a legal cause of action is still needed and if a case is going badly enough and considered to have been brought without any merit to the case the party bringing the lawsuit could potentially face having to pay the other sides attorney fees if they do not withdraw. That and the high cost of pursuing disputed cases on an hourly basis can motivate people to fail to pursue cases which they and their attorneys realize they cannot win. Bradley may have considered this to have been a "win" and clearly not having to continue to pay hundreds of dollars an hour to defend the case or take anymore time on it paying $10 to make the case go away was appropriate for Kelsey. Presumably he paid with no admission of any wrongdoing.
While this does not have anything to do with Probate law, estate settlement, trusts and estates or Probate Litigation Information that this blog typically writes about but funny to think of a disputed situation resolved with merely a payment of $10. Typically any contested or litigation matter costs thousands of dollars or more to pursue and when dealing with Hollywood and movies or their stars worth millions it is funny to think of a settlement for merely the cost of one person to go to the movie.
The amount involved brings to mind another lawsuit which ended in a small amount paid although completely different facts. The USFL sued the NFL and received $1 in damages which were then tripled for anti trust reasons. The league had lost $163 million and sought nearly $570 million in damages which then would be tripled although "won" the case but only received the $1 judgement. To read more about that case click here.