WGA West, ‘Expendables’ Writer Sued by Producers Over Credit

Action alleges fraud at 2009 WGA arbitration

Millennium Films and Nu Image have sued the Writers Guild of America West and writer David Callaham for alleged fraud in the screenwriting credit he received for 2010’s actioner “The Expendables.”

The suit was filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging fraud and unjust enrichment and declaratory relief.

The WGA West, which is the final arbiter over screenplay credits, and Callaham had no immediate response.

Millennium Films and Nu Image allege that the 2009 WGA arbitration gave Callaham a credit that was unwarranted. The plaintiffs are seeking the $102,250 bonus that was paid to Callaham and that the arbitration be reversed.

They are also seeking a jury trial, unspecified damages, legal fees and an order that they will not have to make sequel payments. And the plaintiffs have for the WGA to discipline Callaham.

Lionsgate is releasing “The Expendables 3” on Aug. 15.

The suit alleges Callaham had overstated his role in “The Expendables” script and withheld information from the WGA arbitration. According to the suit, Sylvester Stallone based some of the characters in the project’s script on Callaham’s “Barrow” script, which Stallone reviewed in 2002.

Because Stallone was also the director of the movie and a production executive, the WGA was required to hold the arbitration to determine screenplay credits.

The suit alleges that Callaham contended during the arbitration that he alone wrote the screenplay for ‘The Expendables” and asserts “these representations and Callaham’s position were patently false and confirmed by Callaham’s own written words and disclosures that came to light years thereafter.”

The WGA’s arbitration determined that Callaham receive the “story by” credit and the top spot in the shared “screenplay by” credit with Stallone. The suit said that Callaham and his Jittery Dog production company company began an arbitration this year for a $175,000 sequel payment for 2012’s “Expendables 2.”

Callaham has a “story by” screenplay credit on the upcoming “Godzilla” from Warner Bros. and Legendary. Stallone has over a dozen screenplay credits and received an Oscar nomination for the “Rocky” script.

The plaintiffs are  Nu Image Inc, Millennium Films, Double Life Productions, Alta Vista Productions Inc., Alta Vista Financing and Alta Vista Productions LLC. Plaintiffs are represented by Charles Coate and Darius Anthony Vosylius of Santa Monica firm Costa, Abrams & Coate LLP.

News of the suit first broke on the THR.com site.

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