1:50pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Awards Consultant Sues Lionsgate Claiming Unpaid Bill for Nicole Kidman Campaign
Lionsgate has been sued by a consulting firm that alleges it is owed money for services provided to help its slate of films garner Academy Award nominations. The work is said to have resulted in an Oscar nod for Nicole Kidman in the best actress category for Rabbit Hole, and the firm says it is entitled to $61,500 plus interest.
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court earlier this month by CBB Consulting, which says it was contracted in August 2010 to provide logistical services in advance of awards season. Per the agreement, CBB was to get $12,000 per month from August until the Academy Awards telecast in late February.
The agreement provided a right to terminate with five days written notice.
On November 1 2010, Lionsgate allegedly informed CBB of its intention to terminate. According to the complaint, the explanation given was "financial reasons." (At the time, the studio was battling investor Carl Icahn for control of the company.)
However, CBB says that no written notice was given and that the reasons cited weren't permissible in the opt-out provision, which stated that the parties were allowed to cancel in the event of "any change in business form, management or organization or any other occurrences materially frustrates this intent."
CBB now claims it is owed $42,000 for unpaid services. In addition, the firm claims $12,000 more damages as a promised fee for handing over an updated draft of an Academy members mailing list. Finally, CBB says it's due $7,500 as a promised bonus for Kidman's nomination. According to the agreement, CBB was to get $5,000 for an Oscar nomination (which Kidman got) and $2,500 for any Guild nomination (Kidman got a Screen Actors Guild nod as well).
We've reached out to Lionsgate for comment and will update with a response.