Anger Management producer Joe Roth’s countersuit today in the $50 million lawsuit over the upcoming FX series has “no merit,” says Bryan Freedman, lawyer for plaintiff Jason Shuman. Roth’s action today (read the suit here) was a response to the multimillion-dollar complaint Shuman and his Blue Star Entertainment filed April 18, which alleges that Roth reneged on an agreement with the consultant for work he had done for Roth’s Revolution Studios on developing Anger Management into a TV series. Roth wants the court to declare that Shuman’s consultant agreement with Revolution, which was entered into on August 12, 2008, was terminated on January 24, 2012. “The termination letter itself is completely disingenuous,” said Freedman, who also represents Deadline and its parent company PMC. “It seeks to end my clients’ involvement in the television series Anger Management as developed by Jared Bush with Cedric the Entertainer. There is no such agreement. The 2010 Anger Management Producer Agreement entered into between Revolution and my clients clearly states it is for the development of Anger Management ‘based on the previously released motion picture of the same title.’ ” Anger Management, starring Charlie Sheen, is set to debut on FX on June 28. Roth produced the 2003 Anger Management movie starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler. “What is extremely telling is that the termination letter completely ignores the existence of the 2010 Anger Management Producer Agreement,” added Freedman. “Facts do not cease to exist because they are intentionally ignored.”
In March of this year, Shuman’s lawyers dismissed the termination letter for being “as improper as it is factually and legally inaccurate.” The dispute lead to the April filing and today’s response by Roth, which also seeks attorney’s fees and “further relief the Court deems just” from Shuman. It says “a judicial declaration is necessary and appropriate at this time and under the circumstances in that Cross-Complainant may ascertain its future rights and duties under Consulting Agreement.”
Anger Management is produced by Roth’s Revolution, Lionsgate TV, and Evolution Entertainment. Former Two & A Half Men star Sheen stars as a troubled anger management therapist. The series is being produced under the 90-10 model developed by Lionsgate’s subsidiary Debmar-Mercury, assuring a significant windfall from syndication sales if the series hits a ratings threshold in its initial 10-episode run on FX.