William "Billy" Sammeth, the former manager for comedian Joan Rivers, has sued her for more than $2 million, according to Yahoo News. He said the comedian still owes him unpaid commissions and claims she defamed him in a recent documentary film about her life as a comic.
William Sammeth's New York personal injury lawyer was not cited or quoted in the article, although the attorney no doubt is playing hardball.
His lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, lists several works for which he believes he is entitled a 10 percent cut, totaling roughly $200,000. On top of that, he is seeking at least $2 million in exemplary and punitive damages.
The former manager said he worked behind the scenes to help Joan Rivers win the TV show contest "Celebrity Apprentice" and claims he worked for her during the filming of the documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" before being fired to provide "a fictional controversy."
That last claim may be difficult to prove; Joan Rivers dismissed his claims as sour grapes in a written statement:
"This is the claim of a former personal manager, who was properly terminated over one year ago. Billy Sammeth is now making claims for money to which he is not entitled, and I am confident that the judicial system will dispose of Mr. Sammeth's lawsuit in the appropriate manner."
But while Joan Rivers described William Sammeth's behavior as "erratic," he claims she defamed him in the film by saying he "disappeared" on her. He countered by claiming that he was simply terminated.
He also claims that his $18,000 pledge at a charity auction as part of "Celebrity Apprentice" (which he also claims he paid in full) helped Joan Rivers avoid being eliminated from the show.
Big Box Bully's False Accusation Costs It $9 Million (FindLaw's Injured Blog)
Browse New York Personal Injury Lawyers (FindLaw)