Michael Douglas' ex claims 'greed' in 'Wall Street' trial

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Michael Douglas' ex claims 'greed' in 'Wall Street' trial

Wed Aug 25, 2010 @ 10:17PM PST

By Eriq Gardner


Forget whether greed is good. Attorneys for Michael Douglas and ex-wife Diandra argued about the meaning of the word yesterday in a Manhattan courtroom.

The dispute centers on language in a decades-old divorce agreement that gives Diandra a cut of profits from "spinoffs" of films created when the two were married. She says this entitles her to money from the actor's recent work on "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," which his side claims isn't a "spinoff" but rather a "sequel."

According to the New York Post, Michael's lawyer, Marilyn Chinitz, argued that Diandra was being greedy and should just move on. That caused Diandra's lawyer to pounce.

"Greed is about somebody who doesn't want to pay taxes and doesn't want to pay his spouse," responded Nancy Chemtob, a lawyer for Diandra, referring to Michael claiming residency and filing taxes in Bermuda.

The divorce agreement at issue never clarified what a "spinoff" means. In copyright law, both a "spinoff" and a "sequel" are derivative works, but that doesn't mean a judge will see them the same for purposes of this dispute. 

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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