AMC is looking to have one The Walking Dead-related legal challenge dismissed. The lawsuit is one of two levied against the network by Frank Darabont, who developed the comic book series about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse into a television series. Darabont also executive produced and served as showrunner on the show’s first season and part of its second season. AMC fired Darabont in 2011. In 2013, Darabont sued AMC, alleging the network owed him $280 million in unpaid profits. In 2018, Darabont opened another lawsuit against AMC, this time claiming tens of millions owed do to a breach of contract by the network. This second suit is the one that AMC is hoping to have dismissed.
According to Variety, AMC filed a motion for summary judgment on Monday, arguing that Darabont’s second lawsuit is baseless. Darabont claims that AMC violated the “most favored nation” clause of his contract when calculating his profits. AMC argues that Darabont’s profits were calculated as the terms of his contract dictate and that Darabont and his representatives at the Creative Arts Agency are trying to rewrite those terms to be more favorable to Darabont.
“This Court should rule that the parties’ contract is clear and unambiguous and grant summary judgment to Defendants on both claims,” AMC’s attorneys wrote. A hearing for the summary judgment is set for March 18th. If the motion is unsuccessful, the case will go to trial on June 1st along with Darabont’s first lawsuit.
“These lawsuits shine a spotlight on how CAA puts its own financial interest above the financial interest of its clients,” AMC’s attorney Orin Snyder said in a statement. “By now, we all know that CAA and Darabont filed this lawsuit to rewrite their contracts only after The Walking Dead became a huge commercial success. Today’s motion shows that this lawsuit is just another CAA money grab that should be thrown out of court.”
December 2018, five years after he first filed. Darabont's suit was confirmed to be heading for trial. "We are pleased that the Court denied AMC’s motion for summary judgment as to every key claim in Plaintiffs’ case," said Dale Kinsella, attorney for Darabont's team, at the time. "We look forward to proceeding to trial on Plaintiffs’ claims, which now exceed a quarter billion dollars.”
"We are very pleased with today’s decision," Snyder said. "It is a victory. The judge denied plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment outright on the fundamental issue in the case. The judge also awarded summary judgment to AMC on four of plaintiffs’ claims, throwing them out completely. We now look forward to trial where we are confident we will prevail. This lawsuit is nothing but a money grab by CAA and the greedy Hollywood lawyers who feed off talent and are the driving force behind this suit. These plaintiffs have been paid millions and millions of dollars on The Walking Dead, which AMC turned into a hit after taking a risk on a show that no other network wanted. Now the same sophisticated Hollywood lawyers and agents who negotiated plaintiffs’ deal want to re-write the contract many years later to extract even more money. A jury will see right through this scheme. We appreciate the judge’s careful and thorough review of the arguments and look forward to victory at trial.”