AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
Turns out, failure is an option.
A judge has denied Charlie Sheen's bid to stay arbitration in his $100 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Two and a Half Men cocreator Chuck Lorre, thereby ordering the case into private arbitration and making the off-the-handle actor's chance to rage against any "corporate trolls" in a court of law a real long shot.
A rep for Sheen had no comment on the judge's decision, but attorney Martin Singer had argued last month that the arbitration clause in his once very well-paid client's contract was invalid.
Meanwhile, the other side is feeling good.
"We're very gratified by the court's ruling enforcing the parties' arbitration agreement," Warner Bros. said in a statement.
Too bad CBS' sitcoms are on hiatus, so there won't be any new vanity cards this week, but Lorre's lawyer is doing the reacting for now.
"The court made the appropriate ruling in denying Mr. Sheen's request to stay the arbitration in referring his lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre to arbitration as his contract calls for," attorney Howard Weitzman tells E! News. "This matter will now proceed in an orderly fashion as the parties agreed to."
Singer tells E! News, however, that a public trial remains a possibility, that it now becomes up to the arbitrator to either hang onto the case or put it back in a judge's hands.
"The court did not say the matter goes to arbitration, period," Singer, who says his client is owed $10 million, explained. "In essence the judge punted and said, 'You will make that decision.'"
"We are looking forward to the arbitrator expeditiously hearing this matter," he added. No hearing date is on the schedule yet.
Sheen sued his former bosses in March, claiming it was they who prevented him from going about his business and that they had no right to fire him, considering he was perfectly able to do his job.
Lorre and the studio countered that that wasn't the case, that Sheen's erratic behavior and increasingly destructive lifestyle was taking its toll on his acting, his appearance and the way he interacted with the entire cast and crew.
At a hearing on April 19, Warner Bros. attorney John Spiegel described the process of drawing up Sheen's multimillion-dollar contract in 2003 "a nightmare" as he listed the various perks the Hot Shots star was demanding, from $2 million per episode to a private hair stylist and use of a corporate jet.
Sheen did not, however, argue that the arbitration clause should be removed form his deal, Spiegel said.
A date for the next hearing has not yet been set.