Happy Days Headed to Court

A judge last week refused to throw out the case filed by cast members of the 1970s hit television series Happy Days. Four of the cast members sued to try to recover money from sales of merchandise they were never received.

The Superior Court judge in Los Angeles denied CBS’s motion for summary judgment that would have brought to an end the lawsuit. The network is the owner of the show. The issue that is remaining is whether the show’s actors are entitled to payments from DVDs of the Happy Days series. The judge ruled the initial burden of proving the plaintiffs were not entitled to royalties for merchandising of DVDs with their likeness was not met by the defendants.

The Court, the judge said, was not making a ruling on the claim, that the judge said might happen at trial, but only that CBS did not meet their burden for the sole purpose of stopping the lawsuit. The ruling means, unless a settlement is reached, that a trial will start on July 17.

Anson Williams, Erin Moran, Marion Ross and Don Most along with Tom Bosley’s widow are members of the cast of the show who sued the network in April of 2011. The suit claims they were not paid for their share of worldwide sales of merchandise from Happy Days. The series aired from 1974 through 1984.

The suit claims that the actors, under their contracts should have been paid a percentage of the net proceeds. Members of the cast said the judge’s decision was a victory for them and they were prepared to go to trial if needed.