TV star’s daughter dragged into court saga
Stella Reeve has been dragged into her father Simon Reeve's court battle with Channel 7 after a judge ordered any evidence of work she has done for his private company must be handed over within days.
The TV star is suing the Seven Network and seeking up to $1 million, alleging a breach of contract and misrepresentation to his employment after he was unceremoniously dumped from the spotlight earlier this year.
He alleges his ongoing contract "did not permit Seven to unilaterally cease" paying his salary, or in the alternative paying fees to the company he directs, Simon Reeve Productions Pty Ltd.
But the broadcaster denies Reeve's claim and is suing the 59-year-old in return, alleging "misleading and deceptive conduct" over the past six years when it used SRP as a contractor.
"Reeve did not, at any time prior to 29 July 2020, advise Seven that he considered himself to be an employee of Seven and was providing services on that basis," its cross-claim, obtained by news.com.au, states.
DAUGHTER'S EMPLOYMENT PROBED
Justice Geoffrey Flick, who is presiding over the case in the Federal Court of Australia, last week warned the parties there will be "no games" and they will face a "rough ride" if they don't co-operate.
The judge has since referred the matter for mediation.
He also ordered Reeve and SRP to produce a number of documents by 5pm on Friday, November 20.
Seven's barrister Yaseen Shariff SC had said without them, mediation would be "unfruitful".
The list includes copies of tax returns, insurance policies and tax deductions, along with pitches, proposals or offers prepared "for the supply or provision of services by Reeve or SRP to a third party" from April 2002 to date.
In addition, "any and all declarations made to any third parties by Reeve or SRP regarding the nature of the relationship between Reeve and SRP, or regarding the business of SRP" must be produced.
Justice Flick further ordered: "Copies of any and all documents evidencing or recording the provision by any person of services to, or the provision of services for or on behalf of, SRP in the period April 2002 to date including but not limited to Ms Stella Reeve."
According to LinkedIn, Ms Reeve - who is studying journalism and communications at university in Brisbane - has been a "Production Assistant" with SRP since May 2018.
"My role as a production assistant focuses on the following: scripting, photography and videography, editing, sourcing interviews, podcast creation," her profile states.
'MISCONCEIVED AND EMBARRASSING'
In Seven's cross-claim, it states Reeve "performed services on behalf of SRP" between September 2014 and his last day at the network this year.
The network says invoices were issued "under the entity name of SRP for payment by Seven" and payments were made monthly.
However, in his defence to the cross-claim, Reeve's lawyers state these payments "were in reality payments of Reeve's remuneration as an employee of Seven".
The veteran host claims "at all times from about April 2002 until on or about 25 June 2020, Reeve was in reality an employee of Seven, at common law and for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009".
The phrase "in reality" is repeated throughout the seven-page defence.
The final sentence reads: "As to the entirety of the cross-claim, Reeve and SRP say that the cross-claim is misconceived, embarrassing, fails to disclose a reasonably arguable cause of action and is liable to be struck out."
Reeve has worked with Seven on and off over the last four decades, including as host of Million Dollar Minute and It's Academic.
His time at the network came to an end when he alleges he was called by Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell on behalf of Seven on June 25 this year.
"Reeve was notified of the termination of his engagement by reason of his role no longer being required to be performed by him or by anyone," the court papers, filed by Reeve, state.
Reeve is claiming 12 months' salary in lieu of termination notice provided by the network, compensation for the failure to pay him annual leave and redundancy, interest and costs.
But in its defence, the network argues "reasonable notice" was no more than five weeks.
It argues that at no time after February 2010 was Reeve employed by Seven.
The case will return to court in March 2021.
Originally published as TV star's daughter dragged into court saga