Adam Carolla Can't Ditch Claim For Podcast Profits

Law360, Los Angeles (May 02, 2014, 7:01 PM ET) - - A California judge on Friday rejected Adam Carolla’s attempt to ditch his former podcast partners’ suit accusing the comedian of wrongfully forcing them out of the business, saying there is a factual dispute over whether the parties had established partnership or employment agreements.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson confirmed his tentative ruling denying Carolla’s motion for summary judgment on breach of partnership and breach of employment agreement claims brought by three former partners in his hugely popular podcast “The Adam Corolla Show.”

Donny Misraje – a high-school friend of Carolla – his wife, Kathee Schneider-Misraje, and Sandy Ganz filed suit in January 2013, alleging they provided the “innovative force” behind “The Adam Carolla Show” on the basis of Carolla’s assurances that they were “all in this for the long haul” and would “all get rich.”

The suit says Misraje convinced the “computer illiterate” Carolla to immediately start a podcast to retain his fan base after his terrestrial show was canceled.  Although the first episode of “The Adam Carolla Show” was rudimentary, according to the suit, “Misraje’s vision was to build a ‘multimedia podcast network.’”

According to the suit, Carolla has breached his partnership agreement with the plaintiffs by failing to distribute their pro rata share of the profits from his podcasts.

On Friday, Paul S. Marks of Neufeld Marks APC, representing Carolla, told Johnson that the plaintiffs had pled the case as partnership by oral agreement, but failed to present evidence of an oral agreement between Carolla and Misraje.  Marks said Misraje has presented no testimony from Misraje in his opposition to the motion for summary judgment alleging that he had an oral agreement with Carolla.

Johnson, however, said that denying the partnership agreement wasn’t that simple, as the plaintiffs had alleged that Misraje believed they had entered into an agreement during discussions with Carolla, creating a triable issue of fact, and denied the motion.

The Misrajes and Ganz are represented by Gregory L. Doll, Ronald M. St. Marie and L. Katie Fulsher of Doll Amir & Eley LLP.

Carolla is represented by Paul S. Marks and Erin E. Brady of Neufeld Marks APC.

The case is Misraje v. Carolla, case number BC499379, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.