Los Angeles Superior Court Justice Teresa Sanchez-Gordon ruled on the morning of Friday, July 18th, 2008, that a trial is the best means to determine whether Burton verbally agreed to bankroll Marie for life in return for her acting in his films (which include Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow, and Planet of the Apes) and serving as his personal manager, as her suit contends, before allegedly duping her into a much smaller payout.
Burton had fought to have his lawsuit tossed. There has been no immediate comment from neither his publicist nor his lawyer.
While Marie turned up for the proceedings in California, Burton participated on the phone, since he is in London, busy working on his upcoming Alice in Wonderland.
The article by Josh Grossberg continues as follows:
In his motion seeking dismissal, attorney Joseph Mannis argued that any sort of oral agreement was not applicable in this case, because Lisa Marie signed off on a $5.5 million settlement. Per the terms of that deal, Mannis argued, Lisa Marie relinquished all claims to Burton's assets and promised not to file a palimony suit.
But the model and actress, who appeared in small roles in many of Burton's films and whose real name is, claims she only received $2.7 million and was victimized by a conspiracy. She claims that Burton worked with her own advisers to shortchange her.
Burton filed a countersuit last September seeking a court declaration affirming she was obligated to live up to the prior deal.
One of the plaintiff's lawyers lashed out at the director's camp for a bullying tactic in which they threatened to take futher legal action against her if she fought Burton's petition to dismiss the case.
"They said that if we had the temerity to file papers in opposition to their motion for some reason that they would file a malicious prosecution action not only against Lisa Marie but also against me," cocounsel Judd Burstein told E! News. "It's going to be very interesting what the jury thinks of that kind of hubris."
Burstein added his camp was "very pleased" by the judge's ruling.
"It's not unexpected to us. Nice to know that just because you're a big celebrity you can't get your way by cheating and bullying."
The attorney also said that a chance for an amicable agreement was past.
"We've had some [settlement] talks, but it's not going anywhere," Burstein said. "We want our day in court, and it will be a very bad day for."
That day is now scheduled for August 11th.