'Happy Days' cast members' lawsuit heading for trial

"Happy Days" stars Anson Williams, Don Most, Marion Ross and Erin Moran are suing CBS for merchandise money.

Story highlights

  • A judge Tuesday denied a motion by CBS that would have ended the lawsuit
  • Four 'Happy Days' cast members are suing for money from merchandise
  • The lawsuit states the actors should have gotten between 2.5-5% of net proceeds
  • The case is scheduled to go to trial on July 17
A judge on Tuesday refused to throw out a case filed by four cast members from the hit 1970s television show "Happy Days," who are suing to recover money from merchandise they claimed they have never received.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White denied a motion by CBS for a summary judgment, which would have ended the lawsuit. CBS owns the show.
The key issue remaining in the case is whether the actors may be entitled to payments from the sale of "Happy Days" DVDs.
White ruled that that "defendants have not met their initial burden of showing that plaintiffs are not entitled to merchandising royalties for the use of their likeness on DVD sets sold to consumers."
"The Court emphasizes that it is not making a determination on the merits of (CBS') claim, which might be proven at trial, but only that defendants have not met their initial burden" for the purpose of ending the lawsuit, White wrote.
The ruling means the case, unless it is settled, would go to trial on July 17.
Four members of the cast, Marion Ross, Don Most, Anson Williams and Erin Moran, along with the widow of Tom Bosley, sued CBS in April 2011, claiming they have not been been paid what they're owed for the worldwide sale of "Happy Days" merchandise. The series was on the air from 1974 to 1984. Bosley died in 2010.
Under their contracts, the actors were supposed to receive 5% of net proceeds, or 2.5% if their images were used in a group, the lawsuit states.
"It's a certain sense of vindication that they ruled in our favor," Most told CNN in a phone interview. "We feel obviously very pleased and happy with that ruling. It's just confirmation of what we've been claiming all along."
Asked if the cast would actually go to trial if necessary, Most said, "We didn't come this far to then all of a sudden stop. It was a big victory for us today,