The Walking Dead Trial Judge Receives Motion To Ban Profane Emails

Drama continues to unfold behind-the-scenes and off-the-set of AMC's The Walking Dead. Following a lawsuit in which producers claimed they were owed millions of dollars from the network producing the zombie series, a motion to ban profane e-mails from being sent within the cast and crew has been filed. Profane e-mails is one of the items listed in a long list of things that some are hoping to have banned from The Walking Dead during this trial.

"To quickly recap, Darabont and CAA are entitled to a share of profits from the hit show about survivors of a zombie apocalypse," THR reports. "They claim being cheated on the revenue side of the profits ledger, particularly with regards to what AMC Network pays to license Walking Dead from sister company AMC Film Holdings, which produces the show and must account to profit participants. They allege having self dealing protection in contracts, such that when a transaction is made with an affiliate, it must reflect the kind of arms length negotiation that AMC would make with third party producers like Sony (Breaking Bad) or Lionsgate (Mad Men). AMC responds that it is allowed to impute a license fee without the conditions the plaintiffs wish to impose, and Darabont and his sophisticated reps knew what they were signing up for a decade ago."

AMC won a battle against The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and other executive producers, recently. This case followed Darabont's original case which began in New York. AMC is hoping for a similar outcome in New York as they landed on in the case with the producers which was held in California.

In evidence used in the trials, profane e-mails fom Darabont during his tenure on the series surfaced. E-mails said things like, "Everybody, especially our directors, better wake the f*** up and pay attention. Or I will start killing people and throwing bodies out the door.”

"[T]his is not an employment case," Darabont's lawyers argue. "[W]hether Defendants chose to remove Darabont because he sent some emails that contained profane language or for another reason—or even if Defendants had a sinister motive for removing him, as Plaintiffs believe—is all completely irrelevant to the jury’s determination of the contract issues here."

0comments

In the end, parties are hoping to have such e-mails as Darabont was sending banned as the cast and crew regularly communicate via e-mail.

"Even if fair market value opinions were somehow minimally relevant, they should be precluded because they would result in undue confusion and needless mini-trials," write AMC's lawyers. "The jury’s task at trial is to determine whether the imputed license fee in AMC’s MAGR [profit] definition breached the Affiliate Transaction Provision (assuming the jury finds that provision applies). Plaintiffs’ experts’ fair-market value opinions would 'distract the jury from [that] task' … because they would incorrectly suggest to the jury that AMC was obligated to set the imputed license fee pursuant to an objective fair market value standard and that deviating from that standard breached the parties’ agreement."