Ladd testifies in Warner Bros. DVD suit

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Alan Ladd Jr. had another shot Tuesday morning at rehashing his claims that the removal of his Ladd Co. logo and credits from several DVDs cost him millions of dollars.

But after testifying a second time, Judge Ricardo Torres stuck with the ruling he made Monday that the damages were too speculative, a courtroom observer said.

Torres made the initial ruling Monday after hearing Warner Bros. attorney Michael Bergman's arguments Friday on a dismissal motion for non-suit.

On Monday, Torres also dismissed Ladd's profit participation claims for the cult classic "Blade Runner" because the claims breached a prior settlement with the studio over the film.

The judge, however, refused to dismiss claims by Ladd and producing partner Jay Kanter the studio owes them millions for failing to allocate the appropriate share of package license fees from TV broadcasters to films for which the studio owes a profit participation. Those claims include breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation based on the studio's licensing activities.

Torres did limit the damages to four years before the filing of the lawsuit, citing statute of limitation issues. The decision could put the damages potential at far less than the $9 million Ladd and Kanter claim they are owed.

"There was a breach, the judge ruled, based on the evidence, but he didn't see damages and thought it was speculative," said Ladd's attorney John Gatti of the credit allegations. "We obviously disagree and we think the evidence was significant as to the damage of the credits."

With "Blade Runner," which Warner Bros. had reported for years as being in the red, Gatti said there was less of an issue, since the studio changed its accounting practices and paid Ladd and Kanter.

"What we were trying to do is go back and get the additional money and interest on the money they hadn't paid us," said Gatti of Greenberg Traurig.

A Warner Bros. spokesperson declined to comment on the ruling since the trial is still pending.

In opening statements, Bergman told jurors the studio has no reason to negotiate lower licensing fees in such package deals since the studio receives 95% and the Ladd Co. receives just 5%.

Among the films the producers claim they are owed profits are "Chariots of Fire," "Blade Runner," "Night Shift" and the "Police Academy" movies.

Gatti said once the trial concludes, they will consider appealing the judge's dismissals.

"He did definitely limit us," he said. "We'll look at our options on appeal."

Closing arguments in the trial could come as early as Thursday, Gatti said.

The case is Ladd v. Warner Bros., BC300043.
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