In the latest class action over a studio’s alleged miscalculation of home video revenue, the daughter of a late Hollywood producer is leading a charge against MGM. Joan J. Buck of New York claims that, in a “common and systematic [industry] practice,” the studio only calculates revenue on DVDs, tapes, VOD, streaming and such based on one-fifth of what it actually takes in. A pair of class actions were filed early last year claiming the same 20% calculation by studios — one against Warner Bros led by Hal Needham, who has since died, and another targeting Universal, Paramount, Fox and Sony. “The standard contract entered into between the business parties requires the calculation of revenue to be based on 100% of the revenue received by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer-Studios Inc.,” states the suit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here). “Contrary to the unambiguous terms of the standard contract, [MGM] engages in a common and systematic practice of paying less revenue than it receives by including only 20% of said revenue when calculating the amount payable to profit participants.” The plaintiff’s father Jules Buck partnered with Peter O’Toole on films including The Lion In Winter and What’s New Pussycat? — the latter of which she cites in the suit.
The class action alleges breach of contract and Business Code violations, among other claims, and seeks a jury trial. Attorneys for Buck and the class are Neville L. Johnson, Douglas L. Johnson and James T. Ryan of Johnson & Johnson LLP; Paul R. Kiesel, Jeffrey A. Koncius and Mariana Aroditis of Kiesel Law LLP; and Raymond P. Boucher, Shehnaz M. Bhujwala and Paymon A. Khatibi of Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti LLP.