AMC has responded to Frank Darabont’s latest lawsuit, in which the fired “Walking Dead” director claims he is owed additional tens of millions of dollars on top of the $280 million he has been seeking for the past four years.
In a three-page letter to Judge Eileen Bransten, AMC attorney Orin Snyder argues that Darabont and co-plaintiff CAA are seeking a “second bite at the apple” in case they fall short in their original complaint. The original case, which was filed in 2013, is now awaiting a ruling on summary judgment in Bransten’s court.
In his letter, Snyder asks that Bransten suspend the proceedings in her court until the new lawsuit can be addressed. Snyder argues that because the allegations in the second claim concern the same parties and contracts as the first claim, they should be combined into a single case.
“Plaintiffs are, in effect, still throwing legal theories at the wall in the hopes one will stick — if not in this case, then in their duplicative second-filed action,” Synder argues. “Going forward now would materially and unjustly prejudice Defendants, forcing us to defend against the same claim in two separate actions, with no assurance that success in the first-filed action would ultimately resolve the parties’ dispute.”
In the second suit, which Darabont and CAA filed last week, the plaintiffs argue that they only recently obtained a contract between AMC and Robert Kirkman, the author of the comic book series on which the hit show was based. That contract provides Kirkman with a share of profits based on actual distribution fees. Darabont’s attorneys contend that he should have been afforded the same treatment, rather that receiving profits based on “imputed” fees. The difference, they contend, comes out to at least $10 million and possibly much more.
Snyder, in his letter, counters that CAA served as Kirkman’s agent and therefore has had access to his contract from the start. Snyder argues that the plaintiffs should have turned over the contract to the defendants, rather than accusing the defendants of failing to turn it over to them.
“Their new allegations are a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ strategy — no matter how this Court rules, they will attempt to retry the case all over again,” Snyder writes. “This is unfair. This is wrong.”
Dale Kinsella, attorney for Darabont and CAA, issued a statement blasting AMC’s letter as “outrageous and manifestly improper.”
“Worse, it should be obvious from even a casual reading of the letter that AMC is desperately seeking to divert attention away from its wrongful conduct during the three years of discovery in the underlying Darabont action,” Kinsella added. “When Justice Bransten takes up the question of what sanctions are appropriate for AMC’s deplorable conduct, it will be decided not on the basis of AMC’s hysterical 11th hour plea to halt the case, but on a fully developed record. Finally, AMC’s letter, written by its new counsel, reflects either a misunderstanding of the facts or a deliberate attempt to mislead the Court about the nature of the two separate actions. Darabont and CAA will be filing a further response to AMC’s frivolous letter in the days to come.”