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Brendan Fraser and Others Win Millions in Court Ruling
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On Friday, a judge from California ruled that Brendan Fraser (actor) and Paul Haggis (director) of the film ‘Crash,’ should be awarded $12 million. The judge who issued the ruling was Daniel J. Buckley, of a Superior Court. His ruling said that Yari and other production companies that were defendants in the lawsuit, improperly made deductions from the receipts of the film. The producers and other production companies named in the suit did not give that money to Haggis, Fraser, producer Mark Haggis or Bobby Moresco, one of the writers on the production.

According to the order, the producing companies named as defendants ran accounting schemes that diverted distribution fees to Lionsgate Films, calling those fees profits, which denied the plaintiffs money from their contract, according to Law360.

  
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“The impact of the ruling goes beyond this specific case and sets new standards for the entertainment industry,” Charnley said in a statement. “We are pleased the court saw through the defendants’ manipulation and schemes, brought our clients a measure of justice and fired a shot across the bow of the those in the industry who may wish to engage in such sharp practices in the future.”

The ruling was a result of the judge finding that producers Bob Yari and others withheld close to $10 million from the work of the plaintiffs on the movie, which won an Academy Award.

The law firm of Ropers Majeski Kohn Bentley PC is representing the plaintiffs, with Richard Charnley acting as counsel. Charnley explained the ruling was important to the future of interpreting contracts in the entertainment industry.

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The plaintiffs have been awarded close to $9.1 million in damages for the breaking of a contract by Judge Buckley. The plaintiffs have also been awarded an interest from prejudgment totaling $2.6 million, which is the amount of money the defendants are severally and jointly liable.

The Nahai Law Group, representing the defendants and speaking with Law360, said that they disagree with the ruling and are going to file an appeal.



The production companies were sued by Fraser, Haggis, and Moresco back in 2007. The lawsuit was filed because they claim the terms of the agreement they signed in 2002 and 2003 were breached. Judge Buckley made his decision on July 26 regarding the breach of contract by the production companies.

The movie won three Academy Awards back in 2006, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture.

“This ruling in essence forces the production company responsible for making ‘Crash’ not only to turn over to plaintiffs every cent of profit it made from the film, but to come out of pocket another $5 million,” Behzad Nahai said in a statement Tuesday. “Based on the court’s interpretation of the contract, the entity that took a risk on a film that no one else would make will be forced to lose over $5 million despite the film’s great success.”

Information also researched from The Hollywood Reporter.



 

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