A co-creator of the “CSI” series is being sued by a former domestic partner who alleges the writer breached an agreement to provide financial support for the plaintiff, who bore children for the couple, after their relationship ended.
Anne McGrail, a Hollywood writer, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Ann Donahue, who along with Carol Mendelsohn and Anthony Zuiker created the successful “CSI” franchise. The suit alleges breach of contract and asks for an accounting of finances held between the parties.
The unspecified damages sought by McGrail pertain only to the time prior to the former couple’s registration as domestic partners in December 2003.
A representative for Donahue could not be immediately reached. According to the complaint, the two began their relationship in 1998, started living together the next year and separated in 2013.
“Between 2000 and 2003 plaintiff and defendant held themselves out to the world as partners, allocating their financial resources and earnings with one another and sharing family responsibilities,” the suit states.
In 2002 the two began discussions about having children and talked about what resources they would have if McGrail was to be the birth mother and give up some work opportunities in exchange for Donahue providing the appropriate financial support, the suit states. The two entered an oral agreement that year in which McGrail agreed to limit her career opportunities to care for their children and while Donahue would be the primary earner, the suit states.
Donahue assured McGrail that the couple had enough money and that the success of the “CSI” franchise would be more than enough support an expanded family, the suit states.
McGrail gave birth to the couple’s first child in July 2004 and then to twins in April 2006, although she suffered a stroke after the 2006 births, the suit states. She continued to hold primary responsibilities for caring for the couple’s children, although at age 41 she had to quit working because of the stroke and due to her commitment to the couple’s offspring, according to the lawsuit.
Donahue filed for dissolution of the partnership in May 2013, but the two continued living together and Donahue continued to provide financial support even after they separated four months later, according to the lawsuit.
In April of this year the two reached an agreement on custody arrangements for the children, the suit states. However, no resolution was reached on the couple’s longterm financial issues and Donahue this month transferred all the former couple’s joint bank accounts to a third party, according to the complaint.
On June 17, Donahue’s lawyer wrote McGrail’s attorney stating that Donahue disavowed McGrail’s pre-registration domestic partnership rights and “affirmatively refused for the first time to financially support (McGrail),” the suit alleges.
—City News Service