Here’s what’s happening in entertainment law news.
By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter
A roundup of entertainment law news including director Albert Hughes still seeking money for the aborted “Motor City.”
One of the producers of Walk of Shame, starring Elizabeth Banks, is attempting to defeat a lawsuit alleging a stolen script.
The complaint was filed by Shame on You Productions, operated by Dan Rosen, who wrote a screenplay called “Darci’s Walk of Shame” and allegedly had a pitch meeting with Banks and her husband, Max Handelman, who produces films through Brownstone Productions.
Now, after months of somewhat nasty fighting between the parties over depositions, Lakeshore Entertainment has filed motion for judgment on the pleadings on the basis that besides a generic idea of a woman who has too much to drink one night and suffers the consequences the next day, there’s not much in common between Walk of Shame and “Darci’s Walk of Shame.”
“WOS is a lighthearted comedy about a successful news anchor in Los Angeles, who, after having a one night stand must find her way back to her local news agency to audition for her dream job,” says the motion. “Darci’s, by contrast, is a surreal tale about a woman who is forced to attend her sister’s wedding in Maui wearing a hideous bridesmaid’s dress, tries and fails to have a one night stand and then proceeds to fall in love with her local cab- driving/helicopterpiloting/firefighting companion.”
A hearing is scheduled for March 23. Here’s the full motion.
In other entertainment law news:
- B. Scott, a transgender man hired as a style correspondent for the 2013 BET Awards, has settled a dispute with Viacom. The plaintiff brought a first-of-its-kind lawsuit for discrimination on the basis of gender identity after being told what to wear for television, but last April, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge handed Viacom the win on an anti-SLAPP motion. The judge reasoned that decisions by entertainment producers about wardrobe and style fall within the protection afforded by the First Amendment. That ruling was then appealed by B. Scott and was on its way to a potentially precedential decision from a California appeals court, but a deal between the parties offers an alternative ending. B. Scott speaks about the ending in a statement.
- A Texas woman, who once co-owned a small, online publishing company that originally held rights to Fifty Shades of Grey, has reportedly emerged victorious at a jury trial. According to the Fort Worth Weekly, Jenny Pedroza sued Amanda Haward for breaching a partnership. Together, the two ran The Writers Coffee Shop. Pedroza claimed she was told to sign an agreement to restructure the company, which resulted in Pedroza being cut out of profits when Fifty Shades publishing rights were sold to Random House.
- The Directors Guild of America is looking to collect $125,000 on behalf ofAlbert Hughes for Motor City, a suspended film project from RandallEmmet/George Furla Productions. When the producer stopped development on the eve of principle photography two years ago, it led to a slew of lawsuits from star Gerard Butler, film financiers and others. Hughes ((Menace II Society, Book of Eli) brought his own claim in arbitration through Horatio, Inc., which resulted in a $225,000 settlement, and then another arbitration over unpaid amounts. Last December, the DGA and Horatio filed a lawsuit to confirm the arbitrator’s ruling, and last week, the plaintiffs moved for default. According to court documents, an attorney for Randall Emmet/George Furla Productions wrote his clients “do not plan to appear in this lawsuit.”
- Time Warner Cable customers in Los Angeles: Don’t like the fact that your cable bill has gone up after the cable company spent billions licensing rights to Dodgers and Lakers games? Think twice about suing for unwanted programming and bundled channels under California’s unfair competition law. As a ruling by a California appeals court on Monday explains, “The FCC, pursuant to its statutory authority, has made it clear that state consumer protection laws are preempted in regard to negative option billing practices that result in rate hikes due to the addition of a small number of channels because those rate hikes do not represent a ‘fundamental change’ in service.”