Filmmakers awarded $12 million in ‘Crash’ suit

Damages charged to various companies run by Bob Yari

After a four-year battle over profits from 2004 drama “Crash,” a judge has awarded filmmakers Paul Haggis, Brendan Fraser, Mark Harris and Robert Moresco $12 million in damages from various companies run by producer Bob Yari.

Tuesday’s award follows a July ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel J. Buckley that Yari’s Hollywood accounting practices kept millions of dollars away from the foursome’s three-tiered contingent compensation deal. “First, according to the defendants’ version of things, defendants could give away or re-route all interest in the picture to a third party, technically receive ‘nothing’ from exploitation of the picture and then claim, as defendants have here, that the plaintiffs are not entitled to any profit participations,” the judge wrote in his decision. “Such an interpretation is obviously absurd.”Filmmakers originally sought about $4.7 million when they filed suit in 2007, but that amount ballooned as the litigation progressed.

“It was a difficult case because Bob Yari in particular entered into a bunch of deals and refused to tell us about them even though he had a contractual obligation to consult with us before entering into any of these deals,” Richard L. Charnley, who represented the plaintiffs, told Variety.

Yari did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

“Crash” spawned a flurry of litigation in conjunction with its 2005 Academy Award for best picture. Producer Cathy Schulman sued Yari, claiming she was fired in retaliation for the Producers Guild of America’s refusal to award him a producer credit. Yari, in turn, sued the PGA, claiming the process of awarding producer credits was arbitrary, secretive and unfair.