July 28, 2011 3:47pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Paul Haggis, Brendan Fraser Win 'Crash' Lawsuit Against Producer Bob Yari
Since being released in 2005, Crash has generated as many lawsuits as it did Academy Awards (three). In the latest and perhaps most damning legal development, a Los Angeles judge has ruled that producer Bob Yari employed creative accounting to cheat director Paul Haggis, co-star Brendan Fraser and writer Bobby Moresco out of money from the best picture winner.
Here's the full ruling, which was issued this week and first reported by the LA Times. Judge Daniel J. Buckley found that Yari improperly deducted costs from the film's $33.8 million in gross receipts, inlcuding the price of his tickets to the Oscars and a $150,000 payment to actress Sandra Bullock to settle a separate claim on the film. Here's the money quote from the ruling:
Defendants breached the contracts with the plaintiffs by diverting funds to third parties; adopting bogus contractual interpretations; refusing to correct accounting errors in a timely manner; adopting inappropriate accounting procedures that were contrary to industry standards; and, ultimately, using all of these to avoid paying plaintiffs money due under contracts.
Damages have yet to be awarded, with Buckley asking the parties to submit additional briefs on August 4. We reached Yari attorney Behzad Nahai but he declined to comment until he had a chance to speak with his client.
Yari, a real estate mogul turned film financier/producer, has been at the center of several Crash-related lawsuits. He unsuccessfully sued the Producers Guild and the film Academy when they denied him a chance to accept the best picture award at the Oscars. Matt Dillon later sued Yari for more than $100,000, and other Crash producers Cathy Shulman and Tom Nunan sued as well.