A judge dismissed portions of a lawsuit in which the actor who played Jethro on “The Beverly Hillbillies” alleges CBS and an Iowa restaurant chain settled a legal dispute in a way that interfered with his chance to financially benefit from his role in the show.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dalila Corral Lyons issued a tentative ruling Monday tossing all but one of Max Baer Jr.’s five allegations against CBS, but said she wanted to review the issues further before making a final decision.
She subsequently issued a modified final ruling in which she dismissed Baer’s claims of fraud and interference with prospective economic advantage, but said his attorney, Jon Freis, can amend the complaint regarding conversion and breach-of-contract allegations.
Lyons said there were enough details in the complaint to support Baer’s final cause of action, which seeks a declaration of the rights of the parties.
Baer, now 77, played Jethro Bodine on the show, which aired on CBS from 1962-71 and in reruns for years afterward. His lawsuit, filed last December, states that he negotiated a deal with CBS in 1991 for the rights to use his name and other elements from the show to create a chain of restaurants, hotels and casinos.
The suit alleges that unknown to Baer or CBS, the Jethro’s BBQ restaurant chain in Des Moines capitalized on the features of the iconic show, including the names of the characters and how they appeared on the series.
CBS learned what the restaurant chain was doing in 2008, but instead of notifying Baer, the network entered into a secret settlement agreement with the eatery without filing a lawsuit or telling the plaintiff, according to Baer’s complaint.
The settlement released the restaurant chain from any obligation to pay damages to Baer, according to the actor’s court papers.
Attorney Tami Kameda Sims, on behalf of CBS, said there is nothing in CBS’s agreement with Baer preventing the network from settling any claims involving other parties.
“The Beverly Hillbillies” dealt with the character of Jed Clampett — played by the late Buddy Ebsen — and his family, who move to California after Clampett strikes oil. Baer portrayed Clampett’s nephew.
— Wire reports