Real estate agents Melinda and Scott Tamkin are suing writer and producer Sarah Goldfinger for defamation and invasion-of-privacy. They allege the show hurt their real estate business and are seeking $6 million in damages.
The lawsuit references an episode that featured a real estate agent named Melinda, who dies under mysterious circumstances, and her husband Scott, a mortgage broker who watches pornography, drinks and is suspected of killing his wife.
The characters had the last name Tamkin in original screenplay and during casting calls, at which Goldfinger helped cast actors who looked like the Tamkins, according to the lawsuit. The Tamkins allege the producers changed the characters' last name to Tucker at the "eleventh hour," an admission that Goldfinger borrowed key details from their real lives.
But synopses of the episode posted on several Web sites still list the characters as Scott and Melinda Tamkin, the lawsuit states.
Anthony Glassman, the Tamkins' attorney, said potential clients looking for their real estate company could have been deterred from contacting them because of the episode descriptions that were online for months before the program aired.
"In this business, you never know why the phone doesn't ring," Glassman said. "It's highly unlikely they would ever have contacted them and wanted to retain them as a professional real estate agent."
The lawsuit said the Tamkins represented the owners of a Los Angeles home that Goldfinger wanted to buy in 2005. She pulled out when the sale was in escrow, but there was no indication of any animosity at the time.
Calls to Goldfinger and CBS were not returned Friday night.