Frank Darabont, CAA Hit Back At AMC Summary Judgment Attempt In ‘Walking Dead’ Suit

The Walking Dead
Macall Polay/AMC

Frank Darabont and CAA on Tuesday responded to a December motion for summary judgment from AMC, which is looking to dismiss the profits lawsuit brought by the former The Walking Dead showrunner and his agency.

In a memorandum of law filed Tuesday in New York state Supreme Court, the parties say the suit, over Modified Adjusted Gross Receipts calculations defined by AMC, had previously been decided upon in court, making the new action “nothing more than a brazen attempt to relitigate issues already laid to rest.”

“Much like the relentless zombies in The Walking Dead, arguments previously rejected by Justice Bransten have been revived by AMC and now form the lynchpin of its motion,” says the filing (read it here), referring to the previous presiding Justice Eileen Bransten, who retired in February 2019. (Justice Joel Cohen took over later that year, and eventually linked the profits cases).

“These endlessly repeated false claims include: (1) that Plaintiffs somehow agreed to AMC’s MAGR definition simply by conducting the audit that preceded this lawsuit; (2) that certain provisions in the Season 2 amendment did not take effect because Darabont did not meet a precondition of rendering executive producer/showrunner services on all episodes of Season 2 of the Series; (3) that the same precondition also includes a requirement that Darabont render these services “full-time” and “in-erson” on all episodes of Season 2; and (4) that Plaintiffs’ cause of action for breach of the implied covenant was duplicative of their breach of contract claim.”

In December, AMC filed its summary judgment motion to dismiss Darabont’s claims revolving around the contested Modified Adjusted Gross Receipts that fuel part of Darabont and CAA’s multi-prong action against the cable network.

“After the television show became an enormous critical and financial success, Plaintiffs attempted to re-negotiate their contracts through litigation to achieve a financial windfall that the contracts do not award,” AMC said in the motion filed December 16. “In contrast, Defendants ask this Court to do nothing more than apply hornbook New York law to ‘enforce’ the ‘clear and unambiguous’ contract language ‘according to the plain meaning of its terms.’”

The $10 million lawsuit is secondary to the $300 million-plus consolidated profits lawsuit that Darabont, who was showrunner of the first season of the zombie-apocalypse series, launched against AMC in late 2013 with his agency CAA. That case is moving toward a June 1 trial date.

“Having had their deceptive and faulty accounting practices exposed, it is little surprise that AMC again seeks to avoid facing a jury,” Darabont and CAA’s top lawyer Dale Kinsella said back in January in response to AMC’s summary judgment ask. “The motion is based on a bogus interpretation of Darabont’s contract and should be denied. We look forward to trial on June 1.”

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