HBO Documentary Investor Doesn't Like Director's New Job

2012-33 BIZ Lawsuit Illustration P IPAD

A fight over Christopher Nolan’s "Dark Knight Rises" commissions is the latest Hollywood lawsuit to reveal that looming bottom-line pressures trump even bad press.

Can accepting a position at HBO amount to conversion, misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, breaches of contract and fiduciary duty, violations of Arkansas Security Act and infliction of emotional distress?

Brace yourself: Yes, according to a dentist by the name of Jordan Cooper.

Cooper not only cleans teeth; he says he invested $43,000 in Keith Patterson's documentary of former Texas governor Ann Richards.

According to a lawsuit filed in an Arkansas circuit court, Patterson got $200,000 for selling to HBO his film titled All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State. The problem, says Cooper, is that Patterson could have gotten more money but accepted a job from HBO as part of the package.

"The job was offered to Patterson to make the purchase of the Film by HBO less costly," states the lawsuit. "Patterson had a duty to sell the Film on the behalf of ARM and its investors for full price and also not to enrich himself at the expense of ARM [Ann Richards Movie] and its investors."

The dentist's effort to straighten out this situation continues by alleging that he never saw any part of the $200,000. As the complaint tells it, Patterson had borrowed money from another equity partner, "and because debt was an expense," such "debt would be paid first leaving nothing with which to pay Plaintiff."

So now Cooper is bringing nearly every tort claim known to man to recover his investment and punitive damages. He's suing both Patterson and HBO. Patterson hasn't commented yet while an HBO spokesperson says, "We saw the complaint and the claims against HBO have no merit."

The lawsuit is silent on exactly what HBO position Patterson secured for himself. The Ann Richards documentary began airing on the pay TV network in April.

UPDATE: The plaintiff has dismissed his claims.