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Lawyers Square Off in Court Over ‘The Walking Dead’ Profit Participation Lawsuit

The battle over Frank Darabont’s “Walking Dead” profit participation lawsuit against AMC flared anew on Wednesday as lawyers sparred over how the court should handle a second lawsuit filed in January by Darabont and CAA.

The sides have been waiting since September for New York Supreme Court Judge Eileen Bransten to issue a ruling on the request from both sides for summary judgment on former showrunner Darabont’s complaint from 2013 alleging he was short-changed his fair share of profits on the hit show because of AMC’s business and accounting practices.

On Wednesday, Bransten acknowledged after spirited arguments that AMC’s team plans to file a motion to make the case for why they should be able to supplement its argument related to the summary judgment hearing in light of the second lawsuit.

The second lawsuit addresses issues that came to light after the first was filed, according to Darabont’s team, through an audit of “Walking Dead” revenue. Moreover, separate litigation against AMC from other “Walking Dead” profit participants has since revealed evidence that AMC did not abide by the terms of a “favored nations” clause in Darabont’s contract, per Darabont’s team.

Bransten noted that there was nothing stopping AMC’s team from filing such a motion. But it was clear that AMC’s team wanted the opportunity to lay out the legal reasoning for why they need to make the case for being allowed to submit supplemental information for the judge to consider as she rules on summary judgment.

“The new allegations in case No. 2 have thrown a monkey wrench into this dispute as to what profits are due and owed to the plaintiffs under the agreement,” said Orin Snyder, a Gibson Dunn attorney repping AMC. 

Darabont lawyer Jerry Bernstein, of Blank Rome, countered that AMC was seeking to impose a long delay on the judge’s ruling. “There’s no reason to delay the ruling on summary judgment for one day,” Bernstein said.

Snyder and Bernstein sparred early on during the short hearing, talking over each other. Bransten, meanwhile, was not amused when she spotted a member of the audience chewing gum and drinking coffee. “Not in my courtroom,” she scolded, sending her bailiff over to the offender with a trash can.

AMC’s team vowed to file the motion by March 8 and have the opposition and reply arguments wrapped up in 30 days. Bransten warned the legal eagles that her calendar is booked solid through May.

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