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Entertainment & Sports Law

Charlie Sheen’s Lawsuit Isn’t All Talk: It Seeks $100M and Cites ‘Alleged’ Disability

Posted Mar 10, 2011 2:31 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Charlie Sheen was exaggerating a bit when he said his lawsuit against Warner Bros. would seek “bazillions” in damages.

His suit filed on Thursday against Warner Bros. and producer Chuck Lorre seeks at least $100 million for his firing from the show Two and a Half Men, TMZ reports. It also seeks wages for unpaid cast and crew members under a private attorney general law, Sheen's lawyer, Marty Singer, tells TMZ.

The suit (PDF posted by TMZ) claims breach of contract and failure to accommodate “alleged” medical disabilities under California employment law. Other causes of action include interference with prospective economic advantage and contractual relations, breach of the implied covenant of good faith, and retaliation.

The suit doesn’t concede that Sheen has a mental disability. Instead it says Warner Bros. apparently held that belief, based on health experts’ observations that he was in a “manic” or “bipolar” state. Despite that opinion, Warner Bros. refused to accommodate the “alleged physical and medical disabilities,” and producer Chuck Lorre made derogatory comments about Sheen's condition, the suit alleges.

The suit says Warner Bros. was “quite happy to line its coffers” when Sheen was being treated in rehab, accused of trashing a New York hotel room and facing a potential felony conviction. But the studio “capitulated to Lorre’s egotistical desire to punish Mr. Sheen” after the actor criticized the executive, who had been harassing and humiliating Sheen for years, the suit says.

The complaint lists several “harassing, derogatory and damaging statements” allegedly made by Lorre through statements and “vanity cards” broadcast at the end of each episode. They include: “If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I’m gonna be really pissed,” and, “We employ a highly paid Hollywood professional who has years of experience with putting his life at risk. And sadly, no, I’m not talking about the stunt man.

The suit says Lorre had stopped producing scripts for the show even before Sheen went public with negative comments, and the producer was motivated by the possibility of making more money on other projects.

“Defendant Chuck Lorre, one of the richest men in television, who is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, believes himself to be so wealthy and powerful that he can unilaterally decide to take money away from the dedicated cast and crew of the popular television series Two and a Half Men in order to serve his own ego and self-interest, and make the star of the series the scapegoat for Lorre’s own conduct,” the suit says.

Previous coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Warner Bros. Unveils Legal Strategy in Charlie Sheen Fight; Incapacity, Blown Lines at Issue"

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