A judge has overturned a $128million punitive damages award to the stars and producers of the Fox TV show Bones.
It is just the latest development in a long-running battle between 20th Century Fox Television and actors David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, as well as the show's producers.
The creative team behind Bones claims that Fox ripped them of tens of millions of dollars in profit when it sold the show's streaming rights to Hulu, which is partially owned by the company.
Arbitrator Peter Lichtman awarded $179million to the show's stars and producers after he found that 20th Century Fox Television had defrauded the creative team.
But that decision was overturned by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard Rico on Thursday. The ruling leaves in place a $50million award for compensatory damages, interest, and attorney fees.
A judge has overturned a $128million punitive damages award to the producers of the Fox TV show Bones, as well as its stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz
'We are pleased with the Court's decision to strike punitive damages from the award and vindicating our position,' Fox said in a statement. 'We look forward to concluding the litigation.'
David Boreanaz and Deschanel, the stars of Bones from 2005 through 2017, sued Fox in 2015, saying it denied them residual profits by licensing the show to Fox's TV division and to Hulu for below-market rates.
They were joined by executive producer Barry Josephson and author Kathy Reichs, who wrote the novels Bones is based on.
Daniel Saunders, the group's attorney, plans to appeal the decision.
'Today's decision in no way impacts the arbitrator's findings that our clients are owed more than $50million for Fox's fraudulent and deceitful accounting,' he said in a statement.
'It deals only with the technical issue of whether our clients waived their right to receive punitive damages.'
'As the arbitrator concluded, they did not - and we look forward to showing the Court of Appeal why it should reverse today's ruling'
In February, Litchman found that Fox had stiffed the show's stars and producers out of $10.1million in profits with its Hulu deal.
The creative team behind Bones claims Fox ripped them of tens of millions of dollars in profit when it sold the show's streaming rights to Hulu, which is partially owned by the company
At the time 20th Century Fox Television was owned by Rupert Murdoch. It was included in Walt Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox in March.
According to the arbitration documents, Fox made a deal to air Bones with the network and streaming service