EXCLUSIVE: Well, that legal fright got scared away pretty quick – at least for now. Today The Conjuring producer Tony DeRosa-Grund filed paperwork in federal court to “dismiss, without prejudice” his fire-breathing RICO Act-raising lawsuit against New Line Cinema and exec Craig A. Alexander. While giving himself the ability to file a new suit down the line, this move (read it here) comes just 6 days after the very litigious DeRosa-Grund slammed the Warner Bros subsidiary and its Business and Legal Affairs chief with a wide-ranging and incendiary lawsuit full of accusations of “money laundering” and “’overt racketeering acts.”
That wasn’t the only legal conjuring happening today.
As DeRosa-Grund’s lawyer filed his dismissal in one case, a federal judge granted WB and New Line Productions’ motion to dismiss another suit from The Conjuring producer that was filed in late March. “Defendants New Line Productions, Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. have moved to dismiss or stay in favor of ongoing arbitration, or, in the alternative, transfer venue,” said the order from Judge Lee H. Rosenthal today (read it here). “Their motion to dismiss … is granted.” A later, almost identical lawsuit filed in April was consolidated under this one in late June. Now the parties are scheduled to start meeting with an arbitrator between November 3 and 7. … At this point, it seems a settlement will be reached down the line — unless it all blows up and heads back to court.
Related: ‘Conjuring 2’ Moved To 2016
If that happens or not, the Texas-based district judge’s order is a big win in the courts for WB in its battle with DeRosa-Grund over his March 28 breach-of-contract lawsuit. DeRosa-Grund was fighting with WB over who controls the rights to sequels to the hit 2013 horror pic. DeRosa-Grund also claimed at the time that he was owed “millions of dollars” in damages and compensation from the more than $318 million globally that The Conjuring has made since its July 19, 2013, release.
While these lawsuits are tidied up, there’s still more to come. DeRosa-Grund himself was sued in early September by an investor who claims he actually holds many of the rights to the lucrative franchise — of which the Annabelle spinoff pic was released this month.
Houston firm Dow Golub Remels & Beverly repped DeRosa-Grund in both cases. Charles Grimes and Michael Patrick of Norwalk, CT-based Grimes LLC also acted as Of Counsel to the plaintiffs. Charles Babcock and William James Stowe of Houston firm Jackson Walker LLP represented warner Bros and New Line Productions in the case going to arbitration. Babcock was the lawyer for New Line Cinema and Alexander in the other case.