Damon Dash Makes Move to Collect Money From Lee Daniels' Films

Lee Daniels - P 2014
AP Images/Invision

Lee Daniels - P 2014

Damon Dash believes he is owed money from several of Lee Daniels' film and television projects including The Butler. The Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder has gone to the New York Supreme Court as a first step towards filing a complaint against the Oscar-nominated director.

A summons filed by Dash in New York Supreme Court on Wednesday outlines claims of breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment and conversion. Dash believes that his written and oral agreements with the producer-director covered such projects as The Butler, Precious, The Paperboy, The Woodsman, Shadowboxer and Tennessee.

Last week, Dash told one hip-hop site that he invested $2 million so that Daniels could produce The Woodsman a decade ago. Dash said that he never got money back despite promises. The summons alleges that Dash has been deprived of compensation, producer credits and ownership rights.

Although TMZ and other news outlets have reported that a $25 million lawsuit has been filed, that's not quite accurate. Instead, the summons provides notice of Dash's claims and provides Daniels with an opportunity to demand he be served with an actual complaint. If he fails to appear in New York court, then Dash will seek a default judgment of $25 million, producer credits on all of Lee Daniels' films and TV projects, plus further attorney's fees.

A spokesperson for Daniels commented, "The reported claims by Damon Dash that he is owed money from investments in Lee Daniels’ films are completely without merit."

Dash isn't just targeting Daniels either.

He's also going after Simone Sheffield and Canyon Entertainment on claims of tortious interference and defamation.

According to the summons, these defendants got between Dash's alleged oral and written agreements with Daniels. No details are provided.

As to the defamation claim, Sheffield is said to have published false statements to third parties in the film and TV industry about Dash being the subject of a looming incarceration. A default judgment would carry requested damages of $1 million.

Dash is being represented by attorneys at the Bhushan Law Group.

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner