NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing today filed a lawsuit against former publishing partner Rosie O'Donnell and her company Lucky
Download a .pdf of the 20-page complaint.
The suit against Ms. O'Donnell, with whom G&J is still publishing one final issue of Rosie magazine, seeks damages of over $100 million and charges her with breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of dealing in good faith.
The partnership between Ms. O'Donnell and G&J unraveled spectacularly this past summer as Ms. O'Donnell struggled and failed to gain additional editorial control over the magazine.
Erratic behavior cited
G&J charges that a reasonably productive working relationship "changed drastically beginning in July 2002, when O'Donnell, having recently terminated her daytime television show, began to transform her public persona from the warm, fun-loving 'Queen of Nice' to a self-proclaimed 'uber bitch,' and to behave erratically and in defiance of her contractual commitments to G&J."
The complaint goes on to cite Ms. O'Donnell's "relentless
'Will take G&J down'
The lawsuit also claims that Ms. O'Donnell quit the magazine entirely on July 16 and said she was "prepared to hold a press conference the next morning to announce her decision," but Dan Brewster, G&J's president-CEO, talked her out of the move. The suit alleges Ms. O'Donnell said, "[I]f I have to go down, I will take G&J down with me, even if I have to spend every last cent I have."
The complaint asserts that the magazine "at the time it was torpedoed by O'Donnell was selling more than 3 million copies and generating approximately $6 million in revenue per month, and was substantially in track with a business plan to which both parties had agreed."
O'Donnell's legal team
Ms. O'Donnell's spokeswoman said Ms. O'Donnell's lawyers had yet to receive a copy of the lawsuit, but that "once Rosie's legal team receives the paperwork and they review it, Rosie plans on handling this aggressively, and will most definitely countersue." ~ ~ ~
CORRECTION: The original version of this story inaccurately reported that Gruner & Jahr's action against Rosie O'Donell sought $300 million in damages. In fact, the lawsuit filed against Ms. O'Donnell asks for $100 million in damages.