Schulman wins in Ovitz case


An arbitrator has ruled in favor of producer Cathy Schulman in her legal battle with Michael Ovitz and Studio Canal, sources close to the case said.

Schulman was president of Ovitz's film company, a joint venture between his Artists Production Group and Studio Canal, for two years before resigning in January 2002. Soon after, the companies accused her of breaching a binding settlement agreement and claimed that she attempted to harm Ovitz's company.

The producer sued the companies in October 2002, claiming wrongful termination. Schulman claimed that Ovitz fired her for disclosing that APG allegedly was stealing from Studio Canal's parent Vivendi by using personnel records and resources that were not related to their joint venture.

The case was sent to arbitration, where arbitrator Campbell Lucas ruled against Schulman, ordering her to pay a $3.6 million judgment to APG and Studio Canal. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge, however, dismissed the judgment because Lucas had not disclosed that he previously had been hired as a rep to arbitrate an unrelated case for Ovitz's attorneys.

The case worked through the appeals court system until July 2007, when an appellate panel ruled in favor of Schulman, awarding her more than $150,000 in attorneys fees and ordering the case back to arbitration.

Although the arbitration proceedings are confidential, a source close to the case said a new arbitrator ruled this week in Schulman's favor, awarding her $300,000 in attorneys fees and costs. It was unknown whether the producer was awarded compensation for damages.

Schulman and her attorney Mark Geragos declined comment.
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