March 27, 2011 10:53pm PT by Matthew Belloni
'300' Producer Ordered to Pay $14 Million to Italian Film Mogul Vittorio Cecchi Gori (Exclusive)
A Los Angeles judge as entered a $14 million judgment against producer Gianna Nunnari on behalf of Italian film producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori, ruling that Nunnari, a former executive at Cecchi Gori Pictures, usurped company resources to benefit his own producing career.
Here's the full decision entered in Los Angeles Superior Court on March 25.
Nunnari (300) was president and COO of Rome-based Cecchi Gori Pictures but was allowed to maintain his own company, Los Angeles-based Hollywood Gang Prods., at the same time. Nunnari was accused of taking opportunities presented to Cecchi Gori as his own, comingling employees and failing to keep his employer informed of his side projects.
The case dates back to May 2008, when Nunnari first sued Cecchi Gori, but the Italian mogul countersued, and both cases were heard in a bench trial last summer before Judge Amy Hogue.
In a 50-page decision, Hogue found that Nunnari breached fiduciary duties to Cecchi Gori and engaged in concealment and constructive fraud. The judge ruled that Cecchi Gori was deprived of $8.6 million in revenue from the Nunnari project 300, $3.26 million on a film, Silence, that Martin Scorsese was to direct (and now will direct for Cecchi Gori) and $1.35 million on the Robert De Niro drama Everybody's Fine. The court also awarded 7% interest on the damages (and Cecchi Gori will ask for attorneys' fees), which could bring the total amount of the judgment to around $18 million.
“Nunnari failed to demonstrate disclosures to and consent from [Cecchi Gori] or any other person in the organization who had the authority to recognize the conflict of interest in his producer agreements and take action on it,” the decision states.
"I'm very pleased that after 2 years of litigation, all this hard work has ended and Vittorio can now go back to producing movies," says Cecchi Gori Pictures temporary CEO Niels Juul, who took over the job when his Nofatego distressed asset company was brought in to help restructure its holdings.
Nunnari lead lawyer Timothy Gorry did not respond to an email seeking comment on the ruling. UPDATE: Nunnari attorney Al Newman gives us this statement: "We're obviously disappointed with the judge's decision and intend to appeal."
Cecchi Gori is the producer of Oscar winners including La Vita e Bella and Il Postino.
Email Matthew Belloni at Matthew.Belloni@thr.com.