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Friends star Lisa Kudrow must pay ex-manager $1.6m

Friends star Lisa Kudrow must pay her former manager $1.6m, after a jury agreed she owed him money from earnings received from repeats.

Scott Howard worked as Kudrow’s manager for 16 years, before she terminated their contract in 2007.

Howard took legal action in 2008 claiming he was owed five percent of Kudrow’s earnings from continuing residuals of work negotiated by him.

The actress has denied agreeing on the payments and is planning to appeal.

The 50-year-old is best known for playing Phoebe Buffay in the hit show Friends, which ran from 1994 to 2004.

A jury in Los Angeles ruled in favour of Howard following testimony from expert witness Martin Bauer, a long-standing Hollywood agent and manager, whom the judge – who had initially ruled in Kudrow’s favour – allowed on appeal.

The witness said he had never had a commission cut off because he had been fired. “I would never make that deal,” Bauer told the jury. “The only consequence of a termination is on future projects.”

Bauer testified that it was common practice in the industry to take a cut of earnings made from ongoing repeats.

In the UK alone, Friends was on constant rotation on Channel 4 and E4 for seven years – between the end of the show in 2004 and 2011.

It is now shown on Comedy Central.

Oral agreement

Kudrow claimed she and Scott had an oral agreement which stated that the actress would pay a cut only on the first round of repeats. In court, she claimed he had at first refused her terms, but later relented.

However since no terms were submitted in writing, the jury found in favour of Scott claims that Kudrow was liable for breach of contract.

“The jury’s verdict is merely one step in the legal process,” said Kudrow’s lawyer, Gerard Sauer.

“This case ultimately will be resolved at the appellate level. Ms. Kudrow has faith in the judicial system, and she believes that the eventual outcome of this contractual dispute will be in her favour.”

Speculation had suggested the actress could be ordered to pay as much as $8m dollars to her former manager.

The manager earned $11m during their long working relationship, with Kudrow earning more than $1m an episode by the end of Friends’ run in 2004.

Source: BBC