J2 Communications and a joint venture that includes director Ivan Reitman have filed separate lawsuits charging that producer Matty Simmons improperly diverted at least $ 8 million in residuals.Both suits filed in Los Angeles Superior Court claim Simmons on Oct. 12 informed studios to pay him instead of the plaintiffs. One notice allegedly went to Universal Pictures for payment of residuals from “National Lampoon’s Animal House” that should have gone to Yearbook Movie Co., a New York joint venture comprised of National Lampoon Players Inc. and Ivan Reitman Enterprises Inc. The Yearbook suit also says that Universal mistakenly paid a Simmons-controlled company 10% of residuals owed to Yearbook under a purported assignment from National Lampoon Inc. That company, however, had no right to the money, the suit said. Yearbook wants at least $ 5.5 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages. J2, in its suit, claims Simmons diverted at least $ 2.5 million from Warner Bros. in residuals due from three “National Lampoon’s Vacation” films.
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