Guild mired in legal battle

With the Screen Actors Guild mired in a court battle over Doug Allen’s firing, the stage has been set for the national board to oust Allen again — if SAG president Alan Rosenberg’s legal challenge is successful in reinstating the exec.

Interim national exec director David White, who replaced Allen last week, has scheduled a special meeting of the guild’s national board Sunday without any indication of what’s going to be on the agenda.

But Rosenberg’s lawsuit to overturn Allen’s ouster will undoubtedly dominate the session.

Rosenberg’s attorneys will be back in court today in Los Angeles, seeking a temporary restraining order to overturn Allen’s firing on grounds that SAG’s moderate majority violated state law and the guild’s constitution. Rosenberg, first VP Anne-Marie Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord sued SAG and the 41 board members who voted to fire Allen.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied Rosenberg’s request Tuesday for a court order due to procedural defects in the filing.

During the last board meeting on Jan. 12-13 in Los Angeles, Rosenberg and his Membership First allies staged a 28-hour filibuster that successfully prevented the moderates from ousting Allen and replacing the feature-primetime negotiating committee. The moderates then used a “written assent” to fire Allen two weeks later after SAG general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and outside counsel Robert Bush found that the move passed legal muster.

White notified board members late Tuesday of the video conference meeting, to be held at SAG headquarters in Hollywood and the New York offices. He also said board members representing the regional branches of SAG — who hold 15% of the seats and uniformly voted to oust Allen — will have to attend in either Los Angeles or New York or designate a replacement to attend.

“No call-ins will be permitted at this meeting,” White said.

White also said in his message that the national board meeting will be considered a separate meeting from a joint board meeting with AFTRA scheduled for Saturday to give final approval to the unions’ bargaining proposal on the commercial contract negotiations. Those talks are set to begin with the ad industry Feb. 23.

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