Lawyers fighting over whether Jennifer Lopez knows anything about the origination of a television series about Miami’s modeling and nightclub scene may hear from the actress within weeks, though one lawyer promised: “I will not ask for her autograph.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman has ordered the actress to submit to a deposition by June 11 to answer questions posed in a lawsuit brought last year by a television writer who says the actress, UPN and CBS Television stole his idea and created “South Beach.”
Writer Jack Bunick claimed in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that the television series that debuted in January 2006 was too similar to a plot he described in 1999 for a pilot episode of a show that would have been called “South Beach Miami.”
In February, lawyer Orin Snyder argued for Lopez in court papers that although she was executive producer, Lopez was barely involved in the creation and development of “South Beach” and was only brought in at a later stage to “lend celebrity to the show.”
Snyder, who did not return a phone call for comment Friday, told Pitman he believed Bunick sued Lopez and sought a deposition “for tactical reasons, in an apparent attempt to obtain some perceived leverage by targeting and harassing a celebrity in a case where she has no meaningful testimony to give and no legitimate reason for being named as a defendant in the first place.”
Sheldon Farber, a lawyer for Bunick, shot back his own letter to the court saying Lopez was a proper defendant.
The lawsuit in Manhattan sought unspecified monetary damages and an injunction barring further broadcasting of “South Beach,” which has been canceled.
Lopez is among six defendants, including UPN and CBS Television, the companies that broadcast “South Beach.” UPN was a division of CBS Television Stations Group and has since merged with the also-struggling WB to form CW, a 50-50 venture between CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. Entertainment.