Adam Carolla settles podcast suit
By Ann O’Neill, CNN
updated 2:55 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
- A settlement is reached during Adam Carolla podcast trial
- The terms of settlement agreement are confidential
- High school friend Donny Misraje had sought $ 4.5 million in damages
- Misraje claimed Carolla promised him a partnership
(CNN) — Comedian Adam Carolla settled a lawsuit Tuesday filed by a former friend of 30 years who claimed he had been cheated out of his share of Carolla’s popular podcast.
Donny Misraje, a television editor and producer, had sought $ 4.5 million in damages from Carolla, his friend since their high school days in suburban Los Angeles. Misraje claimed to be the creative force behind Carolla’s podcast and contended he was promised 30% of the company.
Carolla completed his testimony in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday; Misraje testified last week and the case was winding to a close.
Terms of the settlement were confidential.
“It was a good deal for my side and a smart deal for his side,” said Misraje’s lawyer, Greg Doll.
The deal was reached after the judge issued a ruling that limited Misraje’s claim for damages from 2009 to 2012, the year Carolla fired him. Misraje had sought a share of the podcast profits until 2017.
Adam Carolla, left, and Donny Misraje worked together on The Adam Carolla Show.
Carolla’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, said the ruling caused the plaintiffs to blink.
“After Adam’s compelling testimony yesterday and Judge (Michael) Johnson’s ruling today gutting their expert’s damage theory, apparently they finally woke up to the fact that their case was disintegrating before their very eyes,” said Geragos, who also is a legal analyst for CNN.
Doll said several jurors told him they were leaning toward Misraje. The only question they had, he added, was how high the damage award should be.
The case told the story of the unraveling of a decades-long friendship between “Ace” Carolla and “The Weez” Misraje that began during the 1980s at North Hollywood High School.
Carolla was a frequent visitor at the Misrajes’ home, often helping himself to food in the family refrigerator. When their other friends went away to college, the two rented an apartment and worked odd jobs. They rehabbed a 1964 Cadillac limousine, which they drove to clubs and parties, “Entourage”-style.
The saga of ‘Ace’ and ‘The Weez’
Carolla, now 50, eventually found his niche at a Los Angeles FM radio station, KROQ, and Misraje worked at several network and syndicated television productions, including “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” He now works as a producer at “The Queen Latifah Show.”
Misraje claimed he came up with the idea for Carolla to launch his podcast in 2009 when he lost his L.A. morning radio show on CBS station KLSX. He claimed he was promised a cut of the business in a “handshake deal” but never got it in writing.
He told the jury that, based on his friend’s word, he walked away from his $ 231,000-a-year job, took out a second mortgage on his home and encouraged his wife and cousin to join the business even though they might not see an immediate payday. The reason: Carolla was still bound to his CBS contract, which included a noncompete clause that kept them from soliciting revenue for the podcast during its first year.
Once the podcast started making money, Misraje contended, Carolla pushed him and the others out of the business.
Carolla, Geragos says, always maintained Misraje wasn’t the only person who encouraged him to start a podcast. Carolla called Misraje a “partner” to humor him and honor their longstanding friendship, the lawyer said.
Carolla’s popular podcast became the record holder, surpassing British comedian Ricky Gervais with nearly 60 million unique downloads between March 2009 and March 2011, according to Guinness World Records.