9:20pm PT by Eriq Gardner
CSS Studios' Ex-President Sues Over Severance Pay
Robert Rosenthal, the former president of CSS Studios, is suing the company for nearly $400,000 in owed money from base salary and benefits.
CSS Studios is the postproduction holding company that owns Todd-AO, Soundelux, POP Sound, Modern Music, Soundelux Design Music Group and The Hollywood Edge, among its assets. The creatives who worked at various divisions of the company have collaborated with directors like Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino and Ang Lee and taken home awards including an Emmy for sound editing for HBO's Game of Thrones. The company also employs talent who are up for technical achievements at this month's Academy Awards for work on Django Unchained and Skyfall.
But a sale of the company in September from Discovery Communications to Empire Investment Holdings prompted a huge shake-up, with layoffs and the closing of New York-based Sound One production house. Among the casualties was Rosenthal, who has previously worked for PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and MGM/UA Entertainment Group and recently took the newly created position of vp sound services at Technicolor Creative Services.
In a complaint filed on Tuesday in L.A. Superior Court, Rosenthal says he reached a confidential Separation Agreement in October with his former employer.
The agreement says that CSS was obligated to make a series of payments as part of his severance package. He was to get one year of base salary -- $419,055.22 -- plus COBRA payments, or about $25,000 in benefits.
CSS has allegedly paid less than $60,000 of that amount, leading Rosenthal to file a breach-of-contract claim to recover the rest.
A CSS spokesperson said the company had no comment on pending litigation.