Actress and singer Zooey Deschanel filed a breach of contract lawsuit against shoemaker Steve Madden and other retailers last December. It now looks like the lawsuit may be allowed to move forward to be heard by a jury.
Deschanel has claimed that Steve Madden negotiated a fully executed oral contract with her agent to use Deschanel’s likeness and name for a line of shoes and accessories. Deschanel claims that the original oral contract was for $2 million and that Steve Madden later contacted her agent to lower the contract to $1.5 million.
The shoe company said it was not able to negotiate a contract with the retailer for the original $2 million offer. Deschanel’s agent agreed to the lower amount, but a short time later Steve Madden reneged on the offer with no explanation.
Deschanel’s attorney filed the lawsuit soon after the contract was broken with no explanation. Later, the actress’s case was strengthened by the fact that her representatives found a pair of “Zooey” shoes for sale at Kohl’s through the shoe designer, manufacturer and distributor Candies.
Deschanel’s attorney says that they believe Madden had a contract with Candies to design a Zooey shoe, which they would then make and distribute to Kohl’s. In the end, Deschanel’s lawsuit claims that the deal went forward, but Deschanel was cut out of the promised profits for using her name and likeness. The lawsuit includes a claim of infringement of rights of publicity and breach of oral contract.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Esq., “Judge Kicking Zooey Deschanel Shoeing of Steve Madden To Jury?,” Eriq Gardner, Oct. 3, 2011