The ex-wife of Michael Douglas was back in court trying again to get a New York judge to hear her case for half the actor’s earnings portraying the avaricious Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”
State Supreme Court Justice Matthew F. Cooper dismissed the suit in November, 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 said, anything related to those projects.
Nancy Chemtob, who represents Diandra Douglas, reargued the venue issue today before Cooper in Manhattan. She said that since both her client and Michael Douglas reside in New York, the case should be heard in Manhattan. She added that the actor, whose lawyers had argued earlier that he is a Bermuda resident, had bought a $5 million house in Bedford, New York, and was living here.
“The residence of the parties is the most important factor” in determining venue, Chemtob said.
“You got it right the first time,” Michael Douglas’s attorney, Marilyn Chinitz, told the judge today. “The documents are in California. The witnesses are in California.”
The judge did not rule today.
Michael and Diandra Douglas were divorced in California in 2000 after 23 years of marriage.
The California court “has greater familiarity than this court with both the law of community property and the facts of the underlying divorce,” Cooper wrote in a Nov. 9 decision.
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 his November decision, Cooper also quotes from the couple’s 1998 document stating that the California court “specifically retains jurisdiction to resolve any dispute.”
“Mrs. Douglas should be ashamed of herself, coming into these courts,” Chinitz told the judge today, pointing out Diandra Douglas had received more than $50 million. “She’s beaten this horse to the ground.”
“I don’t feel that mudslinging and attacking single mothers is particularly attractive in trying to resolve legal issues,” Diandra Douglas said in an interview outside the courtroom today. Michael Douglas didn’t attend the hearing.
The judge asked if Diandra Douglas still had a house in California. Her lawyer responded that it was in contract to be sold. Chemtob said her client is raising three children in New York.
Asked where Michael Douglas was residing, Chinitz said “in New York at the moment.” Douglas was diagnosed last year with throat cancer, received treatment and sees his doctors monthly in New York, the lawyer said.
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 actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.
The case is Douglas v. Douglas, 350044/2010, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).