AMC has been on the defense against the The Walking Dead‘s creator, Robert Kirkman, other executive producers, and the man who brought The Walking Dead to the screen, Frank Darabont. Successful in their defense against Kirkman’s lawsuit, AMC is still taking on Darabont and the mega management conglomerate of CAA. In an attempt to win the suit, AMC is now seeking to admit some profanity laced emails written by Frank Darabont.
Here’s one line from those emails: “better wake the f*ck up and pay attention. Or I will start killing people and throwing bodies out the door.” Yeah. We wouldn’t want that admitted either if we were Frank.
According to Deadline, this week, as both sides submitted new filings to the New York Supreme Court, AMC moved to enter these emails as evidence for an upcoming April 2021 trial. Darabont’s legal counsel, Blank Rome LLP and Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP, argued in the motion to keep the emails out that, “Neither Darabont’s emails, nor the WGA’s wholly-unrelated lawsuit against talent agencies, nor Defendants’ fabricated and illogical theory that CAA put its interests ahead of Darabont’s, are remotely relevant here.”
The motion (read it here) to shut down AMC’s efforts is available to read. The attorneys argue that, “it is beyond question this evidence would unduly prejudice Plaintiffs and distract the jurors from real issues.”
“The focus of this trial is narrow: Did Defendants pay Plaintiffs in accordance with the terms of the parties’ agreement or, as Plaintiffs allege, should the jury jettison the contract terms in favor of a fair market value approach based on alleged custom and practice in the entertainment industry,” say AMC’s Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher lawyers, led by NYC’s Orin Snyder and LA’s Scott Edelman in a separate motion (read it here).
“Admitting this evidence would also turn this trial about Defendants’ breach of contract into a series of irrelevant and time-consuming ‘mini-trials’ about, among other things, how well-liked Darabont was by the cast and crew – many of whom only agreed to work on the series because of Darabont – and about the practice of agency packaging,” CAA and Darabont’s legal team argues. “Here, the ‘collateral’ matter Defendants want to use to distract the jury risks swallowing the actual matter in dispute, which already involves complex contracts and an industry the jurors are likely unfamiliar with,” they conclude.
Darabont and CAA filed suit in 2013 against AMC and it is now set for 2021.
AMC’s lawyer, Snyder, predicts that Darabont’s case is headed towards a similar outcome to that of the Kirkman case filed, and then lost by Kirkman, in Los Angeles. “Plaintiffs’ case is heading to defeat,” Snyder told Deadline. “They see the writing on the wall and are now trying to keep out damning evidence like Frank Darabont’s abusive emails and the conflict of interest at the heart of CAA’s packaging fees,” the eminently quotable attorney added.
“We look forward to prevailing at trial, just as we did in the recent Kirkman case in California,” Snyder said. AMC is also trying to get the summary judgement in the $10 million 2018 Darabont case reconsidered by Cohen in NYC.
“AMC is attempting to distract the jury from AMC’s own wrongdoing by injecting completely irrelevant issues into the case,” Blank Rome’s Jerry Bernstein told Deadline. “We are confident the court will agree that red herrings are not a defense to AMC’s improper self-dealing that exploits and undervalues artists,” the NYC-based lawyer noted.
“AMC has done a desperate about-face on Robert Kirkman’s case in Los Angeles, now twisting themselves into a pretzel to claim the Kirkman case should control the Darabont case, after previously arguing that the two cases have nothing to do with one another,” he said. “Specifically, AMC told the Los Angeles judge, ‘The [Darabont] matter is wholly unrelated to the one pending before this court’.”
If you made it through that and understood what’s going on – good on you! All we took away was that Darabont has said some terrible things in an email that’s going to make him look bad and he doesn’t want them seen!
We’ll let you know how this all plays out!
The Walking Dead returns on October 4 at 8 p.m. for its Season 10 Finale.