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Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. push to arbitrate battle with Sheen gains momentum

March 16, 2011 |  6:44 pm

While Charlie Sheen waits for a day in court, arbitration proceedings to sever his ties to Warner Bros., the studio that fired him from the hit CBS comedy "Two and a Half Men," are starting.

Last week, Sheen's legal team filed a breach of contract suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking at least $100 million in damages from Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre, the executive producer and co-creator of the CBS sitcom.

Warner Bros. has argued that, per Sheen's contract, the case belongs in arbitration, and JAMS, formerly known as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, has accepted the studio's request and is in search of an arbitrator to settle the dispute. Chuck Lorre's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, has also confirmed that JAMS has agreed to arbitrate the producer's battle with Sheen as well.

Sheen's lawyer, Martin Singer, is trying to resist arbitration in favor of a jury, a person familiar with the matter said.

Both Warner Bros. and Lorre will need to file motions with the Superior Court to get the suit referred to arbitration. Those motions are expected within the next two weeks.

In an email, Singer said wrote that the JAMS decision on Lorre and Warner  Bros. "has no impact on whether our lawsuit goes before the courts or is to be arbitrated." Ultimately, he added, "the decision as to whether our suit stays in court or is arbitrated is to be made by a judge."

The news of Lorre’s successful effort with JAMS was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

-- Joe Flint

For the Record: This post was updated to include a response from Sheen's lawyer Martin Singer.