A New York judge dismissed a suit brought by the ex-wife of actor Michael Douglas for half his earnings as the avaricious Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” ruling that California was the proper venue.
Diandra Douglas sued in New York state court in June, arguing she was entitled to share in the proceeds from the 2010 sequel to the 1987 “Wall Street” film. She cited the former couple’s 1998 settlement agreement giving her the right to 50 percent of the proceeds from films, television and stage work Michael Douglas did during their marriage -- and, she says, anything related to those projects.
The California court “has greater familiarity than this court with both the law of community property and the facts of the underlying divorce,” state Supreme Court Justice Matthew F. Cooper wrote in a Nov. 9 decision made public today.
“California, not New York, is the proper forum for this lawsuit,” Cooper wrote, though he considered that Diandra Douglas resides in New York.
Michael and Diandra Douglas were divorced in California in 2000 after 23 years of marriage.
The actor’s attorney argued at an August hearing that the agreement didn’t include new movies such as “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” which opened in September. Douglas gave his wife what she was entitled to receive under his contract 12 years ago, the attorney said.
In the decision, Cooper also quotes from the couple’s 1998 document stating that the California court “specifically retains jurisdiction to resolve any dispute.”
“I think it’s a fantastic decision and certainly we never believed for a moment that she had any basis to obtain the relief she sought,” Michael Douglas’s attorney, Marilyn Chinitz, said in a telephone interview. Nancy Chemtob, who represents Diandra Douglas, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.
Michael and Diandra Douglas have one child, Cameron, who was sentenced to five years in prison in April for drug dealing. Michael Douglas is now married to Catherine Zeta-Jones.
The case is Douglas v. Douglas, 350044/2010, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).