Hollywood Docket: 'Kickboxer' Trial; Pacquaio Lawsuit Knock-out; Filmchella Fight

A roundup of entertainment law news.
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Movie mogul Ted Field is set to stand trial next week in a legal fight over a $500,000 loan he solicited for a remake of Kickboxer, the 1989 film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Central Films Media, run by Fernando Sulichin (Snowden), sued Field and Radar Pictures in 2015, and early this year added fraud claims, alleging that it issued a bridge loan for the film after Field was "extremely aggressive" in soliciting the money and that he breached their agreement by failing to repay the loan on time.

In a trial brief filed Thursday, Central Films attorney Mathew Rosengart calls field a "self-proclaimed former billionaire, but now serial fraudster."

During Field's deposition, which Rosengart notes the court had to compel, he testified that there was still $375,000 outstanding on the loan. The filing also notes that the mogul's attorney Jonathan Freund told The Hollywood Reporter in January that "[Sulichin] is going to get paid. The film was profitable."

On Friday, Freund told THR "the contractual obligation has been fully satisfied."

The initial loan aside, Central Films is also pursuing punitive damages of at least $1.5 million, arguing that Field has been defrauding people with malice. "Field's scheme to bilk investors with callous disregard for their rights is part of a pattern, and the time has come for Field and his company Radar Pictures ... to be punished for their misconduct," Rosengart writes.

Central Films is also asking the court to hold Field personally liable for the alleged conduct, arguing that he "exercised complete control over Radar" and the two are "in effect, one and the same." (The full brief is posted below.)

Field's Jumanji sequel is set to be released in December, and he currently has several other producing projects in the works including an adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The bench trial before Judge Gerald Rosenberg is set to begin Monday.

In other entertainment legal news:

Filmchella founder Trevor Simms is fighting back against a trademark lawsuit filed by Coachella organizers that accuses his new film fest of trying to capitalize on the famous music event's name. Simms, who's currently representing himself, filed an opposition to Coachella's preliminary injunction request on Tuesday. He argues there is no likelihood of confusion because Coachella doesn't engage in film-related activities — and he notes that there are "hundreds of businesses" in the Coachella Valley that use "Coachella" or "Chella" in their names. Simms also argues that Coachella can't support a claim of irreparably injury, whereas an injunction stopping his late-September event would "would be costly with respect to time, money and resources of the venues, promoters, filmmakers, and fans involved." A hearing is set for Sept. 25. (Read the opposition here, and Simms' declaration here.)

The nationwide class action lawsuits filed by angry boxing fans and bar owners who claimed Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao hid Pacq’s shoulder injury ahead of their highly anticipated 2015 fight has been knocked out of court by a California federal judge. On Aug. 25, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner dismissed the multidistrict litigation finding fans had "no legally protected interest or right to see an exciting fight, a fight between two totally healthy and fully prepared boxers, or a fight that lived up to the significant pre-fight
hype." (Read the decision here.)

The Barbershop franchise has cut itself loose from a copyright infringement lawsuit. Ronald Dickerson, also known as JD Lawrence, sued MGM, Warner Bros. and Showtime in 2016 alleging that the Barbershop films and TV series infringe his copyright in a stage play called Scissors. The studios successfully shut down a proposed injunction that would have preempted the release of Barbershop: The Next Cut and then moved for the case to be dismissed in October. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain on Tuesday sided with the studios, finding the works are not substantially similar. (Read the decision here.)

 

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