On Friday, March 28, the journalist Nikki Finke, a household name in Hollywood since her blog Deadline Hollywood became a must-read during the Writers Guild of America strike, posted an item about veteran actor Jack Klugman suing NBC Universal over residuals from his hit 1970’s show, Quincy, M.E.
“This really sounds like one of the worst cases of phony-baloney studio accounting, not to mention sheer arrogance, in Hollywood history,” she wrote. “Geez, when is Big Media going to stop this larceny?”
Ms. Finke, whom The Observer anointed its 2007 Media Mensch of the Year, quoted Mr. Klugman via his Beverly Hills attorneys Johnson & Johnson: “I don’t want their money. I want my money. I can’t believe they’ve collected over $250 million and they say they are still in the hole.”
The blogger, who has earned a reputation for championing the little guy against the moguls, neglected to mention that this law firm, specifically partner Neville Johnson, is representing her in an as-yet-
unreported class action lawsuit she filed against E-Trade in 2006 for surreptitious recording.
Asked about the lawsuit, Ms. Finke said that she did not want to discuss her personal life. She said that she intended to go back and correct the item to include the fact that Mr. Johnson was also one of her attorneys. “I totally forgot,” she said. “I’m very scrupulous about things like that. It was a busy news day. I was posting a lot of breaking stories. And I wasn’t thinking about myself.” (She said she became aware of the Klugman case via an e-mail that was sent to various journalists.)
The ongoing class action suit, which Ms. Finke filed under her married name, Nikki Greenberg (she explained that this is simply the name that appears on her passport), echoes a beef she apparently had with Women’s Wear Daily reporter Jacob Bernstein last July; according to an editor’s note, WWD pulled Mr. Bernstein’s profile of her from their Web site “based on confusion over Bernstein’s taping of a conversation he had with Finke”—which is illegal in California, where Ms. Finke resides.
According to Ms. Finke, E-Trade pulled similar shenanigans. “On or about August 15, 2006 plaintiff Nikki Greenberg placed a telephone call to the E-Trade Financial Center in Beverly Hills, California,” reads her complaint, a copy of which was obtained by the Transom. “At the time, plaintiff Greenberg spoke to Jeremy Zezini, an employee of defendant E-Trade Financial Center. During the course of that telephone conversation, plaintiff Greenberg disclosed personal identifying and financial information. At no time during that conversation was plaintiff Greenberg informed that her telephone call was being eavesdropped upon, wiretapped, recorded and/or monitored.”
Though she is the only named plaintiff in the suit, it is a class action lawsuit and so also includes a plea for “all those similarly situated.”
Calls to E-Trade were not returned.
Ms. Finke clearly is fond of her lawyer: In a Deadline Hollywood post published months before the E-Trade lawsuit was filed, she described Mr. Johnson as “a foremost go-to guy for invasion-of-privacy torts” and mentioned that “many victims of the [Anthony] Pellicano wiretapping scandal” were lining up to meet with him.
With different representation, the journalist in 2002 sued the New York Post, its parent company News Corp., and Disney in Los Angeles, a case that was settled out of court.
In September 2001, she sued an L.A. condo management company over an injury in the common area of the building she lived in and received a settlement of $36,267.