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Judge orders ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ cash into an account

A state district judge Friday ordered $10 million be deposited in a court-controlled account to guarantee there is sufficient cash for a potential award from the Fifty Shades of Grey trial. In this image released by Universal Pictures, Dakota Johnson, left, and Jamie Dornan appear in a scene from the movie.
A state district judge Friday ordered $10 million be deposited in a court-controlled account to guarantee there is sufficient cash for a potential award from the Fifty Shades of Grey trial. In this image released by Universal Pictures, Dakota Johnson, left, and Jamie Dornan appear in a scene from the movie. AP

A state district judge Friday ordered $10 million be deposited in a court-controlled account to guarantee there is sufficient cash for a potential award from the Fifty Shades of Grey trial over royalties.

What happened

State District Judge Susan McCoy had previously ordered $10 million in cash or investments be set aside in an investment fund to satisfy a jury verdict from earlier this year.

But when McCoy heard allegations questioning just how much money was in the fund, and if it was in cash or hard-to-liquidate property, she decided to lock down the finances.

McCoy said she was less concerned about allegations that money may be missing than that there will be “$10 million plus or minus” to pay the judgment.

“I don’t think anyone is trying to hide the ball,” McCoy said. “No one has said, ‘Judge, don’t worry, there will be enough money to satisfy the judgment.’”

The background

In February, a Tarrant County jury made Arlington resident Jennifer Pedroza 50 shades of happy.

Pedroza had sued, saying she was cheated out of royalties from the erotic New York Times bestseller by her Austrialian partner, Amanda Hayward. Pedroza, Hayward and two other women operated the e-publishing business that originally distributed the international bestseller.

Records on the royalties have been sealed. But during the trial and at court hearings it was divulged that the amount in question could be up to $40 million and that Pedroza, under a partnership agreement, would be entitled to 25 percent of the $40 million.

The jury didn’t set a dollar amount to be awarded to Pedroza. McCoy ordered an accounting of the assets to determine how much Pedroza would be paid. That accounting is now complete, and during Friday’s hearing an attorney for Hayward said “they aren’t that far off,” in a final number.

What’s next

At a hearing Aug. 26, McCoy will determine the amount to be paid Pedroza. On Friday, the judge said she wanted the money to be accessible in the court-controlled account two days later.

Max B. Baker, 817-390-7714

Twitter: @MaxbakerBB

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