Three-judge panel upholds SAG moves
Former Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg has struck out again in court in his long-running attempt to overturn moves by SAG’s national board to fire Doug Allen and abolish SAG’s negotiating committee.A three-judge appeals court panel on Tuesday denied Rosenberg’s appeal of a February ruling by a state judge turning down Rosenberg’s request for a temporary restraining order. In a 21-page ruling, Judges Nora Manella, Steven Suzukawa and Thomas Willhite asserted the appeal had been rendered “moot” by subsequent actions of the SAG board and its members. Rosenberg wasn’t available to comment. Duncan Crabtree Ireland, SAG’s deputy national exec director and general counsel, said in response, “The court’s decision speaks for itself, and Screen Actors Guild will have no further comment.” Rosenberg and board members Anne-Marie Johnson, Diane Ladd and Kent McCord had filed the suit against SAG and the 41 board members, alleging that they had illegally used a “written assent” maneuver on Jan. 26 to oust Allen and the feature-primetime negotiating committee. Rosenberg had led a 28-hour filibuster at the SAG board meeting on Jan. 12-13 to block a vote to fire Allen, prompting the moderates to take the “written assent” route. A few days after the suit was filed, the moderates fired Allen for a second time in a regular board meeting. “We conclude that the appeal has been rendered moot by the decision of the majority of the board on Feb. 9 to ratify and readopt the provisions of the written assent and by the subsequent decision by SAG members to accept the contract negotiated pursuant to the board’s Feb. 9 vote,” the judges wrote. SAG members endorsed the feature-primetime deal in June with 78% backing — a surprisingly large margin that led Rosenberg to decide against seeking another term as president. Rosenberg also alleged that the moves should be overturned due to procedural irregularities at the February meeting but the judges said they could find no such violations. And the panel said it disagreed with Rosenberg’s contention that the issues surrounding the use of written assent are of “broad public interest,” with such disputes likely to recur within SAG. “Nothing before us supports these contentions,” the judges said. “As the issues stem from an exceptional dispute now mooted by the board’s action (and the members vote), we discern no public interest to be served by resolving them.” The judges also awarded SAG its costs for the appeal.