‘Walking Dead’ Lawsuit: AMC Seeks Sanctions Against CAA, Legal Team

Televisions Best Moments 2015
Courtesy of AMC

AMC Networks is accusing CAA and its legal team of judicial misconduct in their suit along with Frank Darabont seeking tens of millions of dollars from the TV series “The Walking Dead.” AMC contends that a senior CAA executive purported to be an attorney providing legal counsel in the case really was not.

Darabont, the creator of the series, was joined by CAA in his lawsuit that accuses AMC of self-dealing, depriving him of his full percentage of the profits from the show. The lawsuit was filed in New York Supreme Court.

AMC, in a motion seeking sanctions against CAA and its counsel, contends that the agency has been identifying one of its senior executives, Jon Ringquist, as an inhouse attorney but that he has admitted that he is not. They claim that, as part of the discovery process in the litigation, Ringquist has been provided access to confidential AMC trade secrets and that CAA has asserted attorney-client privilege to stymie the discovery of his communications.

AMC noted that Ringquist admitted to not being an attorney in a deposition.

“CAA and its counsel’s false representations were no mere oversight,” AMC said in a filing on Thursday, adding that the misrepresentations were “reckless or grossly negligent,” and at worst “intentional and a fraud upon this court.”

Dale Kinsella, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, said, “AMC’s absurd rush to file with the court a motion properly heard by the discovery master in the case is little more than an effort to deflect attention from its own repeated failure to defend the case on its merits. Plaintiffs will vigorously oppose this sham motion.”

AMC claims that, as part of the discovery process, Ringquist, a business affairs executive, had access to confidential network information that was meant to be seen only by attorneys in the litigation. They also contend that CAA’s counsel blocked some deposition testimony from Bruce Vinokour, the agent who brokered the agreement, on the grounds that it fell within attorney/client privilege because he would be conveying information from Ringquist.

Darabont and CAA recently filed an amended complaint in the lawsuit, claiming that AMC had created a license fee formula to guarantee that the show remained “grossly in deficit.” They claim that an AMC affiliate produces the show and then licenses the show to another affiliate for an artificially low fee, reducing the revenue that goes into a pool for profit participants.

Their lawsuit contends that Darabont did not receive any money from the show’s profits until after the litigation was filed in 2013, after which AMC changed its accounting practices.

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.