Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s Dismissal from Relativity Fraud Suit Appealed


The dismissal of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin from a Relativity-related fraud suit is being appealed by RKA Film Financing, a bank consortium that’s seeking $110 million in damages from investments with the studio that failed to pan out.

In a pre-argument filing with the Supreme Court of New York last month, but which has only become public now, RKA claims that the state’s high court erred in granting Mnuchin’s motion to be dismissed from the lawsuit. See it here.

In a suit filed shortly after he was confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury, RKA claimed that Mnuchin and 11 others at Relativity, including CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, duped the consortium of lending the studio $81 million to help finance five films. RKA claimed that Mnuchin and the other defendants secretly knew that the cash would be used to prop up the struggling studio’s operations before it filed for bankruptcy protection.

The state’s Supreme Court, however, dismissed Mnuchin from the case in June, finding that RKA had failed to prove that Mnuchin “was responsible for, aware of, or participated in the purported fraud,” and that his “personal friendship with Kavanaugh is insufficient to establish awareness of a liability.”

In its notice of appeal, RKA argued that the high court erred as a matter of law by failing to consider the specific allegations pleaded in the second amended complaint that demonstrated Mnuchin’s “awareness of and participation in the fraud, including by virtue of his position as co-chairman of Relativity’s board,” that he was “intimately involved in Relativity’s financial decisions and transactions,” and that his “knowledge of and participation in the fraud can be inferred through Mnuchin’s position as co-chairman of Relativity’s board while the fraud was ongoing.” See the notice of appeal here.

RKA also argued that the court erred in dismissing Mnuchin from the lawsuit “because if failed to accept the facts as alleged in the second amended complaint as true and determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory.” The news appeal was first reported in the Daily Mail.

RKA further argued that court erred “because it failed to accord plaintiff the benefit of every possible favorable inference drawn from the facts pled in the second amended complaint,” and by concluding that that Mnuchin would have had to have made a misstatement to participate in the fraud.

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