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A profits dispute brought by Katie O’Connell Marsh against Gaumont Television has gotten off to an unusual start.
Last February, the veteran TV executive alleged in a complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court that she is being shorted millions in profits from series including Narcos and Hannibal. Marsh was formerly the chief at the Paris, France-based Gaumont and was let go after a company reorganization, but says her deal entitled her to contingent compensation and she hasn’t gotten a penny for various shows, including Hemlock Grove and F Is for Family.
When Marsh originally filed the complaint, she applied for an order that redacted references to certain portions of her agreement. Nevertheless, Gaumont believes she has violated confidentiality.
After Gaumont filed an answer to the lawsuit and raised a breach of confidentiality as one of its affirmative defenses, the lawyers involved had a short discussion.
“During the meet and confer that preceded this filing, defense counsel attempted to justify this affirmative defense by asserting that certain statements in Ms. Marsh’s Complaint violated the confidentiality provision of the Agreement,” writes Kasowitz attorney John Berlinski in a motion filed last week to strike the confidentiality defense.
Berlinski argues the other side being represented by attorney Michael Plonsker had “ample opportunity to voice any concerns” with the redacted complaint and “sat silently” for two-and-a-half months.
“Gaumont cannot now capitalize on that failure to act,” adds Berlinski.
Profit lawsuits are common in Hollywood, but rarely is a public filing itself a cause to assert a violation of confidentiality.
We’ve reached out to Plonsker for comment.
Gaumont also is raising several other affirmative defenses to the lawsuit, including unclean hands and bad faith. The company’s filed answer also hints at counterclaims to come via the additional suggestion that Marsh’s claims are barred by her “own breaches of the contract.”
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