LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The lawsuits are piling up on Wisteria Lane.
Months after former “Desperate Housewives” co-star Nicollette Sheridan sued ABC Studios and creator Marc Cherry for assault and discrimination, now co-star Teri Hatcher, ABC and the Walt Disney Co. have been targeted by a woman who helped run Hatcher’s production company and claims that she was pushed aside and denied a promised 50% cut of revenue from the venture.
Jennifer Glassman, an industry marketing vet who has worked for the Paradigm talent agency, New Line Cinema and her own branding/PR shingle, alleges in the lawsuit that she went into business with Hatcher in 2006 to run her shingle, ISBE Prods., in exchange for 50% of the profits generated. But after pouring her heart into the venture, Hatcher and ABC have worked to “intentionally exclude and eliminate (her) from the picture in terms of revenue sharing just prior to the successful launch of a prominent website supported by Disney,” according to the lawsuit.
The nine-count complaint for unspecified damages was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Glassman says she played a big role at Hatcher’s ABC-based company, selling projects like “Burned Toast” to Lifetime and two scripts, “Fried” and “Mercury Rising,” to ABC. Disney also recently launched a Hatcher-branded site called gethatched.com through its family.com website. During the run-up to the launch of the site, Glassman says Hatcher abruptly soured on her and sent a mass email in February alerting business contacts that Glassman was no longer working with her. Disney-owned Touchstone TV then allegedly followed up and terminated her.
Glassman “never knew or had reason to know that (Hatcher and Disney) were concealing the fact that they intended to try and treat (Glassman’s) business and employment relationship with them as an ‘at will employee’ relationship, and ultimately ‘terminate’ her without cause while trying to eliminate (Glassman) from the picture, business-wise,” the complaint states.
“This lawsuit is based upon ridiculous fabrications and is completely without merit,” Hatcher’s rep countered. “It is unfortunate that the many opportunities Ms. Hatcher afforded the former employee are now being so implausibly twisted and contorted. The suit will be vigorously defended by the Walt Disney Co. and by Ms. Hatcher’s attorneys, who also intend to file substantial counterclaims against the former employee for her reckless and premeditated misconduct on her departure.”
Glassman attaches to her complaint emails from Hatcher promising partnership, although there is no formal agreement alleged. The only employment contract alleged is a 2007 form deal that Glassman calls a “mere formality” because it doesn’t include terms of employment, compensation, job duties or title. She has sued for breach of an implied-in-fact contract.
She also claims she handled duties above and beyond the usual, including running errands and handling Hatcher’s “mood swings and unusual requests.”