UPDATE, 11:21 AM: Judge Michael Johnson today issued a final ruling denying the state’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit from Ashton Kutcher’s production company against the California DMV. A trial date has been set for June 8. Katalyst Media and Soda and Pop Inc. filed the suit on June 19, alleging that the DMV dropped out of a reality series the Two And A Half Men star’s company was developing.
PREVIOUSLY, FRIDAY PM: Ashton Kutcher’s production company’s lawsuit against the California DMV for dropping out of a reality series moved one tentative step in the actor’s favor today. Judge Michael Johnson issued a tentative ruling Friday denying the state’s request to dismiss the breach of contract and promissory estoppel suit. Kutcher’s Katalyst Media and Soda and Pop Inc. filed the suit on June 19, 2012. The Los Angeles Superior Court judge also noted today that the contract between production companies Katalyst and Soda and Pop Inc. and the California DMV is enforceable, something the state has disagreed with. Katalyst is seeking $1.4 million in damages, claiming that it had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in pre-production for the proposed show. In June 2010, the Two and a Half Men star’s company and the DMV reached an agreement to work on a series featuring Motor Vehicle employees and patrons in various “humanizing and entertaining situations that arise on a daily basis” in DMV offices throughout California. In May 2011 that agreement was put into writing. However six weeks later the state agency “abruptly and without justifiable excuse, changed course,” according to the initial suit.
This change refused the production companies access to DMV offices, something they deemed essential for the show. Not long after, DMV Deputy Director Mike Marando told Katalyst producers that the proposed series was not in the agency’s “best interests.” Lawyers for both sides will give oral arguments at a hearing on Monday before Judge Johnson issues his final order. If the judge does make his tentative official, the case could quickly move toward either trial or settlement. Katalyst Media Inc. and Soda and Pop Inc. are represented by Marty Singer, Michael Weinsten and Michael Mancini of LA’s Lavely & Singer