Sofia Vergara and fellow cast members from the ABC sitcom “Modern Family” launched a lawsuit Tuesday against 20th Century Fox Television to void their contracts.
Vergara and fellow co-stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell argued their contracts violate a California law which prohibits personal service contracts from extending for more than seven years. The actors were contracted to work on the show from February 2009 until June 2016.
“Modern Family has been a breakout critical and financial success,” the lawsuit read. “That success, however, has been built upon a collection of illegal contracts.”
The actors rejected an offer that would increase their pay from $150,000 per episode to $325,000 per episode if the series were to reach a ninth season, reported the Hollywood Reporter Tuesday.
The proposed contracts would also place a cap on the pay raise each cast member would receive per season. Vergara’s was set at 5% while her fellow cast members’ contract stipulated a 4% cap and would obligate the actors to participate in numerous unpaid publicity events.
TV veteran Ed O’neil, the show’s other adult cast member, is expected to join the lawsuit, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Modern Family airs on ABC in the U.S. and recently concluded its third season. On July 19, Vergara received an Emmy nomination for the Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series for the third consecutive year.
In addition to her Modern Family salary, Vergara has her own clothing line sold at U.S.-based discount chain, Kmart. She also runs a marketing and production company called Latin World Entertainment, which she co-founded in 1996.
On July 18, Forbes listed the Colombian bombshell as the top earning actress on U.S. television after she brought in an estimated $19 million between May 2011 and May 2012.