LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer-actress Vanessa Hudgens of the made-for-kids TV hit “High School Musical” is being sued by a producer who claims she reneged on a deal to share her earnings with him after he helped make her a star.
In the lawsuit, filed on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, plaintiff Johnny Vieira accuses the 19-year-old performer and her manager-father, Greg Hudgens, of breach of contract and fraud, seeking more than $27 million in damages.
Hudgens’ record label, the Walt Disney Co.-owned Hollywood Records, also is named as a defendant in the suit.
Vieira, who describes himself as a music producer “engaged in the business of discovering and developing artists in the music industry,” claims he and Hudgens agreed in 2005 to share equally in her advances, royalties and merchandising revenues.
That agreement was approved by a court, the suit says.
But Vieira says he was dumped from Hudgens’ management team soon after she was cast in Disney’s TV movie sensation “High School Musical.”
According to the suit, they subsequently reached a settlement under which Hudgens agreed to pay Vieira a percentage of her earnings from her first three albums under her solo recording contract with Hollywood Records.
However, “it became clear that Hudgens and her new ‘team’ ... all directed by her father ... would take every possible opportunity to deprive Vieira of the benefits to be derived from the settlement agreement,” the lawsuit says.
After giving Vieira a share of her first album advance and a portion of merchandising revenues from the first quarter of 2007, “no other monies have been paid to Vieira and no other accounting has been provided,” the suit says.
Hudgens’ publicist could not immediately be reached for comment. A Disney spokesman said the company had not had a chance to review the lawsuit.
Hudgens sprang to fame in “High School Musical” as Gabriella Montez, the sweet, innocent science geek whose romance with teen athlete Troy Bolton, played by Zac Efron, was chronicled on Disney Channel’s hugely popular TV movie.
Weeks after “High School Musical 2” and its soundtrack debuted, the squeaky-clean star raised a furor when a nude photograph of her surfaced on the Web.
Hudgens apologized, and Disney stood by her. Her second solo album, “Identified,” debuted last month at No. 23 on the pop charts, with a modest 22,000 copies sold its first week.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte
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