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Happy Days Lawsuit: CBS Fires Back at Cast

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 28, 2011 12:48 PM

CBS has finally responded to the Happy Days lawsuit, which accuses the network of failing to pay merchandising royalties owed under actors' contracts.

Brought by Marion Ross, Don Most, Anson Williams, Erin Moran, and the estate of Tom Bosley, the lawsuit, filed in April, also alleges that CBS acted fraudulently and in bad faith.

CBS says it's a joke.

Curiously unsupported by both The Fonz and Richie, the Happy Days lawsuit is yet another in a recent line of cases in which actors have been attempting to recover merchandising royalties that were never paid according to contract.

The contract in this case stated that the plaintiffs were to receive between 2.5% and 5% of net proceeds on all merchandise that bore their likeness, reports CNN.

They claim they never got it, and that CBS attempted to conceal the studio's obligation to pay.

In response, CBS alleges that the lawsuit, which is, at its heart, an action for breach of contract, is an attempt by the plaintiffs to recover more than they are owed, and to trigger punitive damages, reports CNN.

Given that the lawsuit is in its earlier stages, it's impossible to determine which side is telling the truth. However, CBS is correct in asserting that the plaintiffs "slept upon their own rights."

The law puts into place statutes of limitations to keep the specter of a lawsuit from lingering for years.

It also offers other relief when a plaintiff misrepresents himself or fails to file a lawsuit despite knowing of wrongdoing.

Because the alleged infractions that underlie the Happy Days lawsuit seem to have been occurring for quite some time, CBS may be able to take advantage of some of that relief.

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