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TLC sues Jon Gosselin for breaching his 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' contract


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/16/2009 

Jon Gosselin dared TLC to sue him, and now they have.

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"TLC announced today it has filed a lawsuit against Jon Gosselin for breaching the contract he signed for the production of Jon & Kate Plus Eight," the network said in a Friday statement.  

"The network has been trying privately and patiently for months to get Jon to honor the contract he signed and to comply with his obligations relating to public appearances and statements.   Those efforts have been unsuccessful."

TLC has retained the Washington, D.C.-based law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP to represent the network in the litigation.

Earlier this month Jon had his lawyers demand TLC "cease and desist" filming his children, which he claimed was "detrimental" to their health.

"I'm not the bad guy here.  I'm the one trying to protect my children.  That's called being a parent, I'm protecting my children," Jon said during an interview on Entertainment Tonight's October 5 broadcast.

"I need to pull them off of television so we can work this out.  I don't care what TLC says, let them sue me [and] do whatever they got to do. Let them say I'm in breach of contract, they've said it before.  I don't care."

Jon's lawyer Mark Jay Heller has also previously argued that the original agreement between TLC and the Gosselin family is "null and void" and unenforceable because Jon and Kate didn't retain any legal representation when they signed their TLC contract.

In addition, Heller claimed the network never secured Pennsylvania Child Labor Law permits as a prerequisite for the Gosselin children's involvement in Jon & Kate Plus 8.

"This is a null contract for the following reason. As mentioned earlier, at the time that these two struggling people were desperate for money, TLC came with a cadre of lawyers, the most sophisticated contract you've ever seen and said 'sign.' They had no manager. He had no lawyer. He had no idea of what he was signing," Heller said during a Larry King Live appearance with Jon on October 1.

"What's more upsetting is the contract provided that there was no compensation specifically for the kids. These kids have been working for the past four years without any specified contract being attributed them."

Jon's demand came on the same day TLC announced plans to re-launch Jon & Kate Plus 8 as a Kate Gosselin-focused series that would be retitled Kate Plus 8 and feature Jon on a "less regular basis" beginning November 2.

TLC immediately suspended "direct filming of the children... pending further conversations between both parents" but filming has remained halted.

Monday night's Jon & Kate Plus 8 broadcast had featured a promo announcing there are "only a limited number of episodes left" but failed to clarify whether Kate Plus 8 would still debut on November 2.

However TLC subsequently confirmed Jon & Kate Plus 8 will no longer be re-launched as Kate Plus 8 beginning November 2 and the reality show's last original Jon & Kate Plus 8-titled episode will now air sometime in mid to late November. A new premiere date for the show's Kate Plus 8 rebranding has not been determined.

It's been a tough week for Jon, who on Tuesday was ordered to return $180,000 of the $230,000 that Kate has alleged he withdrew from one of their joint bank accounts in violation of an arbitrator's previous order that they not withdraw any funds without the other's approval.

While Jon has since claimed he plans to return the money, he will face contempt charges if he fails to do so by October 26.

In addition, Stephanie Santoro -- who previously alleged to have an affair with Jon during the month she served as a part-time nanny for his eight kids -- recently claimed that Jon would "brag" to her about how he had "hacked" into Kate's emails, phone records and online banking and planned to "use it against her."

Jon has since denied the allegation while Kate's lawyers are "carefully considering" legal options.

(Photo credit TLC)


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