After well over four years of pitched litigation over hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from The Walking Dead, the expression “it not personal, it’s strictly business” increasingly doesn’t seem to apply to the repeatedly antagonistic battle between CAA and Frank Darabont and AMC.
“Plaintiffs respectfully ask the Court to reject AMC’s proposed reply brief, and refer the Court to their Supplemental Summary Judgment Brief, which concisely summarizes the issues on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, and addresses AMC’s misleading arguments,” the uberagency and the former TWD showrunner’s NYC lawyer Jerry Bernstein wrote today with clearly clenched teeth and in derisive language we have heard before in the $300 million all-out war. “Plaintiffs submit they have persuasively established their entitlement to partial summary judgment,” the Blank Rome attorney tersely added to New York Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten in the one-pager (read it here).
As a potentially crucial June 13 hearing on whether the soon-to retire Bransten will deliver her much anticipated summary judgement ruling in the case or not, Bernstein’s letter comes less than 24-hours after AMC tried to shimmy throw another attempt to shut down the process. Tackling legal action not just from Shawshank Redemption director Darabont and CAA but more recently TWD creator Robert Kirkman, EP Gale Anne Hurd and others too over apparently unpaid profits and “self dealing” from the blockbuster series, the cabler yesterday accused the plaintiffs of adopting “ever-changing factual and legal positions” that have “hopelessly confused this litigation and have made summary judgment in their favor plainly inappropriate.”
Having been a part of this kind of maneuvering several times before since the 2011 pink slipped Darabont and CAA launched their lawsuit in December 2013, Bernstein reiterated the quick response of Hollywood heavyweight attorney Dale Kinsella of yesterday with a “screw you” Tuesday to AMC. A “screw you” that was wrapped in slightly velvet verbiage but nonetheless pointed manner.
“The Court could not have been clearer: ‘No Reply shall be filed,'” Bernstein reminded Justice Bransten today of her remarks to AMC attorney Orin Snyder previously. “The Court provided the same instructions to AMC at the April 19, 2018 hearing: “No reply.” AMC’s request for leave to file a reply brief that the Court has already unequivocally prohibited-the height of desperation-should be rejected.”
In objection to an additional $10 million TWD suit that CAA and Darabont hit them with back in January, as Deadline exclusively reported, the former home of Breaking Bad and Mad Men have explored several avenues to halt a ruling for either side on long-since-submitted summary judgment paperwork. Back in April, Justice Bransten permitted a motion by AMC to file supplemental materials on why the second TWD suit profoundly affects the first one. However, Bransten limited the material with a cap that AMC requested yesterday to have removed.
“This is not the first time AMC has flouted one of this Court’s Orders regarding summary judgment briefing,” Bernstein asserted in his letter today. “AMC brazenly revised its summary judgment papers long after the Court-Ordered deadline, to add new ‘facts’ they concocted, and alter their legal arguments,” he said of the massive and occasionally malicious document submission of last summer by both sides before the September 2017 arguments in front of Bransten. “The Court was ‘very, very upset at the fact that possibly plaintiffs have not had an opportunity to respond to [AMC’s] papers,” the lawyer stated Tuesday.
Swinging back at the plaintiffs’ letter and their stinging initial response of Monday, AMC’s Snyder went for an “ouch” of his won and took a less is more approach this morning. “This letter further confirms that plaintiffs’ case is in tatters and should be decided by a jury,” the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher attorney said,
Which means, regardless of the outcome or outcomes of that June 13 hearing expect to hear more declarations of “misleading” as well as “frivolous” and more of the like between the parties in this legal saga that will certainly outlive Justice Bransten’s tenure and maybe the zombie apocalypse of TWD the TV series itself.