July 26th, 2012
05:29 PM ET
The "Modern Family" that sues together stays together.
Star Ed O'Neill has joined his fellow castmates Sofia Vergara; Ty Burrell; Jesse Tyler Ferguson; Eric Stonestreet; and Julie Bowen in filing a complaint against the ABC show's production company, 20th Century Fox Television.
In the complaint, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, the aforementioned actors allege that "Modern Family's" critical and financial success has been "built on a collection of illegal contracts."
The complaint alleges that the contracts established violate a California law referred to in the document as the "Seven-Year Rule," which stipulates that an employer can't contract personal services for more than seven years "without the right to change employers or occupations."
The cast members mentioned above claim that their contracts with 20th Century Fox TV are personal service contracts that bind them to work on "Modern Family" for more than that time frame.
The Hollywood Reporter noted Tuesday that the legal move is a common one for actors who want to void contracts while negotiating for more pay.
THR adds that five of the six - Vergara, Bowen, Tyler Ferguson, Stonestreet and Burrell - were the original cast members behind the complaint, with former "Married ... With Children" actor O'Neill negotiating separately as he's being compensated at a different level than the rest. According to the Hollywood Reporter, O'Neill received somewhere in the neighborhood of $105,000 an episode in the third season, while the other five received something around $65,000 an episode.
However, in a perceived show of solidarity, O'Neill has joined the rest of his cast members in their complaint against 20th Century Fox TV, and an amended document reflecting O'Neill's move was filed on Wednesday.
It's rumored that the production company has offered contracts that would pay out $150,000 an episode for the fourth season, and increasing from there to about $325,000 an episode for an expected ninth season. However, THR reports that the cast is said to be seeking higher pay, particularly for seasons that are further out.
The cast is not commenting on the matter, but the good news is they're not letting it affect their work (well, too much). It was said that a Tuesday table read was scrapped because of salary negotiations, but CNN's confirmed that everyone was present at a table read Thursday morning.
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