In their most recent legal position in California Superior Court, the producers — Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Charles Eglee and Glenn Mazzara — are claiming that AMC Networks’ $200 million settlement in 2021 with the show’s creator Frank Darabont and CAA, his agency, entitles them to similar treatment.
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“Plaintiffs were forced to file this lawsuit as a result of AMC’s two faced treatment of their right to participate in the historic success of The Walking Dead,” their statement reads. “On the one hand AMC tells them they are entitled to nothing based on erroneous pre-trial rulings which are subject to appeal, while AMC paid $200 million to Frank Darabont and CAA to avoid a New York jury’s review of the exact same contingent compensation definition. Instead of giving Plaintiffs the benefit of the Darabont settlement as required by the express terms of their contracts, AMC’s creative activity these days seems limited to figuring out new ways to mistreat the talent that is responsible for its now past success.”
However, AMC Networks’ settlement with Darabont and CAA did not improve the definition of “profits” for the plaintiffs — it was a full buyout of their rights and ended their profits participation on “The Walking Dead” and its spinoffs, along with any rights or claims to future compensation.
Orin Snyder, attorney for AMC Networks, said in a statement, “Robert Kirkman, David Alpert and the rest of these plaintiffs have had their biggest claims against AMC Networks thrown out of court twice, so now they are back with another lawsuit. And another lawsuit means another attempt to rewrite their agreements and extract even more than the millions they have already been paid, and will be paid in the future, for their profit participation in ‘The Walking Dead.’ This is just another crass money grab. We are confident it will fail, as their previous attempts have failed.”
“The Walking Dead” comic creator Kirkman and the other producers first filed suit in 2017, but Judge Daniel J. Buckley ruled in favor of AMC Networks in July 2020, agreeing that the company did not breach its contract with the plaintiffs.
The producers revised the lawsuit in May 2021, but most of their case was dismissed by Buckley in April this year.
Darabont and CAA first sued AMC Networks in 2013 after he was dismissed from the show, claiming that AMC has been engaged in “the improper and abusive practice of ‘self-dealing.'”
The new judge in the case, Stuart Rice, has set February 2023 as a trial date to resolve the remaining claims of the original lawsuit.
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