An actor dubbed “The Most Interesting Man in the World” when he appeared in a series of Dos Equis commercials won a round in court Friday when a judge put a hold on a lawsuit brought by a businessman who alleges the beer ad star owes him and his company commissions.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barbara Meiers agreed with lawyers for Jonathan Goldsmith that information sharing should cease between both sides in the lawsuit until there is a state Labor Commissioner ruling on whether plaintiff Butch Klein was a licensed talent agent when he represented the former beer pitchman.
Goldsmith’s lawyer, David Jonelis, said after the hearing that if Goldsmith wins his case before the Labor Commissioner, Klein’s lawsuit will be dismissed.
Bradley Kreshak, who represents Klein and his company, Gold Levin Talent, said he believed discovery should continue in the lawsuit because Goldsmith is 78 years old.
“Mr. Goldsmith is not a young man and I believe we should get what we can in the event the Labor Commissioner rules in our favor and that way we’re not having to start from square one,” Kreshak said.
But Meiers said the Labor Commissioner’s decision will likely come within four months and that it made more sense to stay the case and keep costs lower for both sides. She also said there probably will be some chance to do discovery while the case is before the Labor Commissioner.
Klein and Gold Levin Talent sued Goldsmith in October 2015. Klein says Goldsmith was relatively unknown until the Dos Equis ad turned out to be “the role of a lifetime” for him. Klein contends he and Gold Levin are entitled to 10 percent of the nearly $2 million that he says Goldsmith earned in 2015-16.
Goldsmith hired Gold Levin in 2002 to manage his career in exchange for his agreement to pay a percentage of his earnings from his television, film and other entertainment industry engagements, according to the lawsuit.
The Gold Levin suit states that Goldsmith paid commissions to Gold Levin from 2006-09, but stopped doing so in November 2015, contending that the plaintiffs “had earned enough.”
But according to a countersuit by Goldsmith, he and his wife, Barbara, obtained the Dos Equis contract in 2006. Barbara Goldsmith joined Gold Levin two years earlier and “effectively managed the business,” according to the countersuit, which says she was her husband’s manager before she married him.
The combined efforts of the Goldsmiths have generated millions of dollars in revenue for Dos Equis and Gold Levin received a cut of Goldsmith’s earnings even though Klein and his company had nothing to do with “Jonathan’s breakout role,” according to the countersuit, which was dismissed by Meiers last May.
Meiers set a status conference for July 19.
Last year, Dos Equis, owned by Amsterdam-based brewer Heineken, replaced Goldsmith with another actor in its ads.
—City News Service