Julianna Margulies Headed to Court to Battle Ex-Managers

By ABC News

Aug 22, 2013 2:18pm

ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis and Faryn Shiro report:

Julianna Margulies, who plays a high-powered attorney on her hit show “The Good Wife,” is now seeing her real-life drama played out in a courtroom too.

The Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning actress could be facing her own trial within months to resolve a lawsuit filed by her former managers who claim she is cutting them out of millions of dollars in fees.

Julianna Margulies Sued by Former Managers

The suit, as filed in July of 2012 by D/F Management in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleged that Margulies owed the firm at least $420,000 in unpaid commissions, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  Lawyers for D/F revised the claim after “The Good Wife” was sold into syndication in March, and are also seeking a 10 percent cut of Margulies’ earnings.

“It is incredibly rare to have a dispute like this with a star as big as Julianna go to trial,” said Lacey Rose of The Hollywood Reporter.  “There is potentially millions of dollars on the line for her, and the potential embarrassment that comes with going to trial.”

D/F, which consists of Steve Dontanville, Margulies’ former agent at ICM, and Frank Frattaroli, claims that they helped land Margulies her “Good Wife” role and negotiated a lucrative endorsement deal with L’Oreal Paris.

According to the lawsuit, while at ICM, “Dontanville carefully helped take Margulies from a promising young newcomer to an internationally renowned television star who earned millions of dollars from her work on the television show ‘ER’ and other projects.”

In addition, the suit claims, “Based in part on D/F Management’s tireless counsel and guidance, Margulies agreed to star in the then-forthcoming television series project  ’The Good Wife.’”  The series, on CBS,  eventually became one of the highest-rated new shows in 2009.

On April 29, 2011, Margulies allegedly ended her relationship with D/F Management.  D/F states in the lawsuit, however, that it expected the actress to follow “customs and practices” in the entertainment industry, which would include “ongoing payments” for all deals that were secured while she was represented by D/F Management.

In court documents, Margulies’ attorney, Sheldon Eisenberg, calls her former manager and agent “an embarrassment,” and said there was no financial agreement made between the two parties.

“They admit that Ms. Margulies never promised them orally or in writing to make such payments,” Eisenberg said of the plaintiffs.

D/F’s attorney, Matthew Rosengart, said that, in Hollywood, managers always get their cut of their clients’ earnings.

“All actors, especially experienced actors, understand the obligation to pay their managers post-termination commissions,” said Rosengart of Greenberg Traurig.  “That is the standard.  It is routine.  It is universal.”

The two sides are scheduled to return to court Monday for mediation.

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