Jessica Simpson has won a pre-court hearing to keep a fitness video, in which she features, off store shelves. The singer/actress filmed an exercise video for fitness firm "Speedfit" in 2005, but sued company owner Alex Astilean for breach of contract when he allegedly failed to deliver a DVD fit for sale, despite allowing him a year for editing.
Astilean countersued Simpson for $10 million last year, claiming the shoot was a shambles because the star allegedly turned up "tipsy". He alleged her manager/father Joe refused to sign off on the project, preventing the DVD from ever being released and forcing Astilean to take legal action.
Arbitrator Kathleen Roberts was brought in to mediate the long-running dispute and she ruled in Simpson's favor, according to court papers filed in a New York state court on Friday, May 21. Roberts admitted the case was "particularly difficult" because of the time Astilean had spent developing his Speedfit exercise system, adding the case had been "personally and financially devastating" for him.
However, she noted "Astilean's frustrations with what he believes to be the bad-faith conduct" of Simpson had prompted him to use unauthorized material relating to the star to promote the DVD. Roberts chose to award Simpson nothing for breach of contract, except legal expenses of $357,587. Her business manager was granted $50,000 for defamation.
Simpson's lawyer, John Rosenberg, reveals the singer and the executives of her company With You, Inc. are happy with the outcome. He says, "My clients are extremely pleased with the arbitrator's decision and are fully confident that the award will be confirmed by the court."
A court judge will now review the arbitrator's decision and decide whether or not to approve the ruling.