A federal judge has cancelled a Jan. 6 hearing on motions by SAG-AFTRA to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Ed Asner and 15 other plaintiffs over alleged mishandling of $132 million in residuals and foreign royalties.
U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real said in a filing Monday that the union’s dismissal motions are suitable for a decision “without the need for oral argument.”
Real gave no indication of how or when he will rule, adding without elaboration, “The Court will issue its ruling on the matter in due course.”
The original suit was filed on May 24. Real narrowed the issues on Oct. 7, allowing the suit to include the issue of residuals and three of the 16 plaintiffs to proceed with their claims on unpaid foreign royalties.
The union filed the 18-page motion on Nov. 20, asserting that the plaintiffs’ claims under state law should be tossed because they are “completely preempted by federal labor law” and that the plaintiffs “do not have the authority to sue on behalf of anyone other than themselves.”
The plaintiffs responded on Dec. 16, portraying the union as reckless in how it handles funds that it’s supposed to distribute to performers.
“SAG-AFTRA simply does not record what is earned but it willy-nilly converts checks as it sees fit, by either endorsing checks made out to performers and placing same into its purported Trust Account, or by holding onto performers checks for months if not years on end to the ongoing detriment of its members who depend on these earnings to live,” the plaintiffs said.
The union has repeatedly insisted that it’s done nothing wrong and has called the suit “frivolous.”