LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A dispute between John Wayne’s heirs concerning real estate assets and the use of the actor’s name and likeness in commercial ventures should be decided in Orange County, a judge ruled Monday.
Aissa Wayne, the daughter of the famed actor, and five of his grandchildren, sued John Wayne Enterprises in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 3. The Newport-Beach company is based in Orange County and is managed by Aissa Wayne’s brother, Ethan Wayne.
Judge Zaven V. Sinanian said he agreed with attorneys for John Wayne Enterprises that the case should be transferred from Los Angeles County because John Wayne Enterprises is not located there.
“The court finds that Orange County is the proper county in this case,” Sinanian said.
Attorneys for Aissa Wayne and the grandchildren argued the case could be brought in Los Angeles County because the agreement in dispute was entered into in that county.
Defense attorney Richard K. Howell said time and money could have been saved if the case originally was filed in Orange County. He said the plaintiffs should have known the case should not have been brought in Los Angeles County and asked the judge to order them to pay $9,255 in sanctions. The judge denied the request.
Allen P. Lohse, who represents the plaintiffs, said today’s ruling was not a significant setback and that he expects the case to go forward in Orange County.
In the suit, Aissa Wayne claims she owned a 14 percent limited partnership interest in Wayne Enterprises. The grandchildren assert a 2.8 percent interest.
Ethan Wayne estimates Wayne Enterprises’ fair market value at $10.7 million, but his sister and the grandchildren say it is worth $15.4 million, according to the complaint.
Aissa Wayne and the grandchildren are asking a judge to decide the value of their interests.
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