8:15am PT by Eriq Gardner
'Narcos' Producer Gaumont Sues Ex-CEO Katie Marsh for Allegedly Spilling Secrets
Gaumont Television claims in new court papers that its former CEO Katie O'Connell Marsh has breached her termination agreement and has wrongfully disclosed the company's trade secrets to its detriment. As a result of these alleged actions by Marsh, Gaumont asserts that it is should be excused from paying profits on Gaumont's hit shows, including Narcos, Hannibal and Hemlock Grove.
Marsh, who led Gaumont between 2010 to 2015 after working at NBC, where she oversaw such shows as Law & Order: SVU, ER, 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights, first filed suit against Gaumont in January. The veteran TV executive claimed that Gaumont had shorted her millions of dollars in profits.
This past week, Gaumont responded by asking permission from a Los Angeles Superior Court to file a partially sealed cross-complaint. On Wednesday, a highly redacted version of the counterclaims and supporting declarations became public. However, with some degree of irony given how the company is touting confidentiality as such a concern, Gaumont's attorneys did a rather sloppy job on the redactions.
According to Gaumont's latest filings, Marsh got a profit bonus equal to 3 percent of the modified adjusted gross receipts of F Is for Family, Hannibal, Narcos and Hemlock Grove. Pursuant to her termination agreement, she consented to return the company's confidential material, not talk to the press and not disparage the company.
Gaumont alleges that upon executing the termination agreement, Marsh represented that she would return everything belonging to the company. According to the company, however, she retained a computer containing the company's secrets. Marsh says she purchased the computer herself, but Gaumont is still asserting a claim over the device and has been frustrated these past few months in an attempt to inspect the computer. Gaumont now seeks a writ of possession to mandate the return of the computer. In the meantime, the company is asserting its belief that she not only took trade secrets and confidential information, but wrongfully divulged them.
Marsh is being sued on causes of action of breach of contract, conversion and fraud.
Gaumont also seeks declaratory relief that it is "excused from any further performance of the Termination Agreement and that, consequently, it does not owe Marsh any further obligations."
That, according to Gaumont, includes "payment of the MAGR Bonus."
After departing Gaumont, Marsh was tapped by Jeffrey Katzenberg to launch a live-action television division for DreamWorks.
John Berlinski, Marsh's attorney, comments, "Gaumont's counterclaim is a baseless act of desperation by a company trying to prevent the industry from hearing about the extent to which it cheats participants. We look forward to having the jury hear the facts at trial."