Local News in Brief : Trial Begins in Suit Filed by Actor Garner

After six years of waiting, actor James Garner is finally getting his day in court. On Wednesday, a $16.5-million lawsuit filed in 1983 by Garner against Universal Studios alleging breach of contract, fraud and deceit finally came to trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Garner, who starred in the 1974-80 television series “The Rockford Files,” filed suit after years of struggling with the studio to collect what amounts to 37.5% in net profits from reruns and foreign sales.

Attorneys expect actual trial proceedings to begin the last week of March.

Garner has charged that Universal bilked him out of his fair share of the show’s net profits in syndication, leaving him with only $249,000 out of gross revenues of $119 million.


One of Universal’s attorneys, Gail Title, said: “Universal considers this a dispute over the language of Mr. Garner’s contract.”

Garner’s disputes with Universal began in 1974, when the studio sued Garner for breach of contract when he said he was unable to work after an injury. Those charges were dropped Wednesday.