Two Years Later in a Dallas Courtroom, the Lawsuit Over TV Junkie Fades to Black
|HBO/Deep Ellum Pictures|
|Rick Kirkham, the TV Junkie|
A judge denied the TRO, and the film aired as scheduled on March 16, 2007. But the lawsuit lived on, till last week, as Tammie sought compensation for herself and her two children from Cain, Chris Smith (Cain's high school friend and business partner), Deep Ellum Pictures (the production company) and her ex-husband. John Helms, among the attorneys representing all four defendants, tells Unfair Park today that a jury in the 44th Civil District Court ruled on Friday that his clients were not liable for any further payments to Tammie Kirkham or the kids and that she had indeed consented to the family's inclusion in the film.
Which doesn't mean she walked away empty-handed: Tammie received $3,500 in January 2006, and she may have more on the way. She signed a contract shortly before Sundance that allowed for the immediate up-front payment as well as an "indirect percentage of any net profits." But Helms says the "the lawsuit prevented us from promoting and marketing [TV Junkie] the way we wanted to. People aren't as likely to be interested in a film in which the producers are being sued based on a claim that people in the film weren't been properly included in the film."
At present, TV Junkie's not available in stores; the film's Web site provides an e-mail for Michael Cain for those interested in purchasing the movie. And Cain's 3-year-old plan to sell the film to schools "and other educational institutions," as Helms puts it, never materialized -- again, because the lawsuit interfered with potential sales. "Now," the attorney says, "they're freed up to do that." The attorneys will also investigate whether Cain and Deep Ellum Pictures can sell the DVD in stores, depending upon their agreement with HBO.
"Chris and I are very thankful for the jury's decision," says Cain in a media release about to be sent out. "TV Junkie has gotten such a positive response from those who have seen it, and this verdict will allow us to promote the film and spread its message about the horrible effects of drug addiction."