Criminal Minds actress A.J. Cook has been slapped with a lawsuit claiming she breeched an agreement with her former lawyers who helped negotiate her cushy T.V. deal, RadarOnline.com can exclusively report.
Attorneys with the Los Angeles firm Meyer & Downs, which provides legal services for artists in the entertainment industry, said attorney Neil Meyer assisted in negotiations related to Cook’s employment with the popular CSB television show and other jobs.
According to the June 15 affidavit, Meyer agreed to provide such services in exchange for a 2.5 percent payment for any compensation Cook received for her work on Criminal Minds, and 5 percent for other deals that Meyer negotiated.
Daniel Y. Zohar, an attorney representing Meyer and the firm, said Cook and Meyer verbally agreed to increase that rate to 5 percent in 2016. Zohar also wrote in the affidavit that on July 24, 2017, Cook and her company entered into a written contract for a movie tentatively titled Back Fork.
When ABC Studios proposed to pay Cook $135,000 per episode for her role as Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer “JJ” Jaraeu on Criminal Minds, Zohar said the actress requested Meyer & Downs to negotiate for more money. In the affidavit, Zohar said through the firm's negotiations, Cook came up on top and penned an agreement that provided the actress with $190,000 per episode — 40 percent more than what the studio allegedly originally proposed.
“Cook credited Meyer & Downs’ expertise and legal acumen, among other things, in obtaining the additional $55,000 per episode and securing the most lucrative deal of her career …,” Zohar wrote. “However, on or about November 9, 2017, without providing any reason, Cook indicated her desire to terminate her business relationship with the Plaintiff.”
Zohar said his clients believe Cook also has received additional payments from ABC Studios and/or Back Fork, which they said could mean the firm should received 5 percent of those payments as well.
Zohar said the firm notified Cook of her right to a free arbitration, but claimed Cook failed to respond within 30 days of the notice they sent. The firm is suing Cook for legal fees and services no less than $123,500.
Cook's attorney, Michael J. Saltz, told Radar exclusively in a statement Meyer's claims have "no merit."
"The lawsuit against our client A. J. Cook by her former attorney has no merit.
The truth is: All Ms. Cook ever agreed to pay Mr. Meyer was 2 1/2%. Ms. Cook never agreed to any fee increase orally or in a writing (which is required by law for Mr. Meyer to increase his percentage fee).
Rather, we are informed that Mr. Meyer worked with Ms. Cook’s former manager to attempt to increase Mr. Meyer's fee without her actual consent. When it was publicly reported that her manager was accused of sexually assaulting various women, Mr. Meyer sought to protect the manager and not Ms. Cook’s interests. Therefore, Ms. Cook terminated them both for cause.
There is much more to support Ms. Cook’s claims against Mr. Meyer, but we prefer to present those facts at the trial in this matter and in support of her claims for recovery of damages.”
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