×

‘Walking Dead’ Profits Dispute Heading to Trial

The long-running legal battle between Frank Darabont and AMC over profits from “The Walking Dead” will run a bit longer, as a judge ruled Monday that the case must go to trial.

Darabont and CAA sued the network back in 2013, arguing he was deprived of $280 million in profit participation because AMC did not engage in an arm’s length transaction to distribute the show. Darabont created the hit show, but was fired during the second season. AMC has justified the decision by disclosing Darabont’s rageful emails, in which he threatened to “start killing people and throwing bodies out the door.”

Both sides filed motions for summary judgment in the summer of 2017, arguing that the court could resolve much of the contractual dispute without involving a jury. The attorneys argued their positions in front of Justice Eileen Bransten more than a year ago. In her ruling on Monday, Bransten held that the key issues in the case are subject to factual dispute and thus belong before a jury.

“The court concludes that the agreement is susceptible to the interpretation urged by both parties… and is therefore ambiguous,” Bransten wrote.

Both sides said Monday that they were pleased with the ruling.

“It is a victory,” said Orin Snyder, AMC’s attorney. “The judge denied plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment outright on the fundamental issue in the case.”

Snyder called the suit “nothing but a money grab by CAA and the greedy Hollywood lawyers who feed off talent and are the driving force behind this suit.”

“These plaintiffs have been paid millions and millions of dollars on ‘The Walking Dead,’ which AMC turned into a hit after taking a risk on a show that no other network wanted,” Snyder added. “Now the same sophisticated Hollywood lawyers and agents who negotiated plaintiffs’ deal want to re-write the contract many years later to extract even more money. A jury will see right through this scheme. We appreciate the judge’s careful and thorough review of the arguments and look forward to victory at trial.”

Dale Kinsella, who represents Darabont and CAA, said he, too, looks forward to a trial, which could be held in late 2019 or 2020.

“We are pleased the court has denied AMC’s motion for summary judgment virtually in its entirety,” Kinsella said. “We will be proceeding to trial on Mr. Darabont and CAA’s claims, which now easily exceed a quarter billion dollars.”

Darabont v AMC order by gmaddaus on Scribd

More Biz

  • Passengers wait to depart for China

    Entertainment Stocks Tumble in Hong Kong as True Cost of Wuhan Virus Emerges

    UPDATED: The Hong Kong stock market tumbled by nearly 3% as it reopened on Wednesday. This was the first opportunity for local equities to be traded since the Chinese New Year holidays and the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, central China. There were steep falls for some of the companies most [...]

  • Ben Smith Buzzfeed

    Ben Smith Stepping Down as BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief to Join New York Times

    BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith is leaving the company to join The New York Times as its media columnist, stepping into the role once held by the late David Carr. Smith announced the news today to staff at BuzzFeed minutes before it broke publicly via NBC’s Dylan Byers. His last day will be in March, [...]

  • Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

    Kobe Bryant Helicopter Did Not Have Terrain Awareness and Warning System, NTSB Says

    The bodies of all nine passengers aboard the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday have been recovered, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said on Tuesday. The crash took the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, along with the pilot and six others. Bryant was on his way to [...]

  • Univision logo

    Final Bids for Univision Communications Expected by Next Week

    The sale process around Univision Communications is set to accelerate as final bids for the Spanish-language broadcaster are believed to be due by the end of next week. Univision hung out the “for sale” sign last July, when the company hired Morgan Stanley, Moelis & Co. and LionTree to advise on a sale process that [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Dead

    Kobe Bryant's Best Days Were Still Ahead of Him (Column)

    I was strolling around my local flea market Sunday morning when I looked down at my phone and read the horrible news: “Kobe Bryant Dies in Helicopter Crash.” I let out an audible gasp. Of course, my utter shock instantly morphed into journalistic concerns over how we were going to cover this unfathomable news. I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content