Yari likely to halt 'Crash' lawsuit

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Producer Bob Yari said Wednesday that he will likely not continue his legal battle against the Producers Guild of America over his producer credit for the Oscar-winning best picture "Crash."

On Tuesday, a California appeals court ruled in the PGA's favor, finding the decision to not award Yari producer credits in order to receive an Oscar was within the guild's rights and did not have an effect on the public's interest.

Yari disagreed.

"The law gives them the protection that the private entity doesn't have to follow some semblance of due process if they make far-reaching decisions -- like going out to almost a billion people and saying, 'This guy is kind of a fraud. He put his name on the picture, but he's not a real producer.' "

Although six people, including Yari, were listed in the indie film's credits as producers, only Cathy Schulman and write-director Paul Haggis were credited by the PGA and Academy and allowed to accept the Oscar for best movie.

Yari first appealed to the PGA, providing 60-70 pages of evidence that he qualified as a producer under the guild's guidelines. The decision to not include him, he said, was held in a secret, closed-door meeting.

"They didn't say who was making that decision or who was involved," he said. "How can you counter that kind of thing?"

Yari then sued, claiming the guild held a "virtual monopoly in the specialized field of motion picture producing" and regulates producing through such things as the "Producers Code of Credits" and "Truth in Credits" campaign. He made similar allegations against AMPAS.

But the court found the guild and the academy were not private organizations held to the same standards as a medical organization censuring a member for making an error in treating a patient, as one case Yari's attorneys used to persuade the court.

"It is surely true that, as Yari argues, the public is interested in the motion picture industry," Justice Orville Armstrong wrote for the unanimous three-justice panel. "That does not mean that industry-related organizations like defendants operate in the public interest."

The PGA's attorney, George Hedges, said the court's decision was correct.

"It's rock solid in validating every aspect of the process by which these awards were given," he said.

Yari's attorney Roger Crane said they had yet to decide whether to appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court.

But Yari said that while it's an option, "it's very unlikely."
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