Almost a month ago, SAG-AFTRA sought to toss out of court the remaining portions of a multimillion-dollar residuals suit filed by former SAG President Ed Asner and 15 other members of the self-titled United Screen Actors Committe. This week, the plantiffs rejected that idea and fired back at the union, which they say has “clearly taken advantage of its role as a fiduciary” and it members. “SAG-AFTRA simply does not record what is earned but it willy-nilly converts checks as it sees fit, by either endorsing checks made out to performers and placing same into its purported Trust Account, or by holding onto performers checks for months if not years on end to the ongoing detriment of its members who depend on these earnings to live,” Tuesday’s 26-page federal court filing says. The union must be “held accountable for misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance in these and other regards,” it adds. Asner and the United Screen Committee first filed suit over more than $130 million in allegedly improperly dispersed foreign residuals on May 24. A hearing on the union’s November request for dismissal and motion to strike is scheduled for January 6 in front of District Judge Manuel Real. In the fall, the judge set a June 24, 2014 trial date in the case.
In early October, the federal judge granted the union’s motion to dismiss a large portion of the suit over $130 million in allegedly improperly dispersed foreign residuals. SAG-AFTRA has insisted from the beginning that the suit is a “virtual verbatim restatement” of the 2007 class action by Ken Osmond of Leave It To Beaver fame and other actors accusing SAG of not properly paying out $8.1 million in overseas royalties. That case was resolved back in 2010 with a settlement. In his October 7 ruling, Judge Real did not cut residuals from the current case and gave three of the original 16 plaintiffs who opted out of the Osmond settlement the right to move forward on unpaid claims. The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint October 23.