Nine years after he was fired from “The Walking Dead,” Frank Darabont is expected to go to trial next June in New York to determine whether AMC Networks owes him hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid profit participation from the hit show.
But first, AMC is seeking to pare down the case. Darabont has actually sued AMC twice — first in 2013 and again in 2018. In the latter case, Darabont alleged that AMC breached the “most favored nation” clause in his contract, with respect to how profits are calculated. The 2013 suit seeks $280 million in participation due to a dispute over calculation of a license fee. The second suit seeks tens of millions more.
In a motion for summary judgment filed on Monday, AMC argued that Darabont’s claims in the second lawsuit were baseless. The motion contends that Darabont’s profits were correctly calculated in accordance with the terms of his contract, and that Darabont — and his agency, CAA — are now trying to rewrite the terms after the fact.
“This Court should rule that the parties’ contract is clear and unambiguous and grant summary judgment to Defendants on both claims,” AMC’s attorneys wrote.
A hearing on the motion for summary judgment is set for March 18. If Judge Joel M. Cohen allows the second suit to proceed, it would go to trial along with the first suit on June 1.
In a statement, AMC’s attorney, Orin Snyder, highlighted the role of CAA — Darabont’s co-plaintiff — in pushing the cases.
“These lawsuits shine a spotlight on how CAA puts its own financial interest above the financial interest of its clients,” Snyder said. “By now, we all know that CAA and Darabont filed this lawsuit to rewrite their contracts only after The Walking Dead became a huge commercial success. Today’s motion shows that this lawsuit is just another CAA money grab that should be thrown out of court.”
Dale Kinsella, Darabont’s attorney, called the AMC motion “bogus.”
“Having had their deceptive and faulty accounting practices exposed, it is little surprise that AMC again seeks to avoid facing a jury,” he said. “The motion is based on a bogus interpretation of Darabont’s contract and should be denied. We look forward to trial on June 1.”