11:52am PT by Eriq Gardner
Paramount Threatened with Malicious Prosecution Over Conspiracy Claim
Marty Singer, the attorney representing Content Partners in a huge lawsuit against Paramount over alleged profit participation cheating, tells The Hollywood Reporter that he will be looking to file malicious prosecution claims against Paramount and its attorneys.
On Thursday, as THR reported earlier, Paramount filed counterclaims in a three-year-old lawsuit that alleged that JPMorgan colluded with an asset management company to interfere with the studio's rights in a series of film-financing transactions. The court papers say that JPMorgan provided insurance-backed financing for a slate of late 1990s film and after realizing that the loans weren't risk-free, came to a secret arrangement with Content Partners. Read more here.
Singer accuses Paramount of having bad motives.
"In last two months, we've uncovered approximately $100 million that hasn't been reported," he says. "In response, they filed this absurd, ridiculous cross-complaint that we believe will subject Paramount and its attorneys to malicious prosecution."
Singer says he's been practicing law for 35 years. "This is the most absurd thing I've ever seen," he says.
He says that Paramount has known about the transaction between JPMorgan and Content Partners for years. "We have documentation," says the attorney, adding that Content Partners was a competitor when Paramount engaged in negotiations to buy back financial participation on hit films like The Truman Show, Face/Off and Runaway Bride. The suggestion of a conspiracy is an "absolute lie," says Singer.
He says that even if Paramount is correct with its new allegations, the studio won't be able to recover money, as the funds would then be due to JPMorgan.
"This is chutzpah," says Singer. "It would be like someone robbing a bank and then suing the victim."
Not stopping there, Singer issued a warning to any financier who would do business with Paramount.
"I think for co-investors, this is an important wake-up call. If co-financiers want to make deals with Paramount, this is what is going to happen. You don't see other studios getting sued like this. What studio has been sued more on co-financing transactions than Paramount?"
Here's a copy of the third amended complaint filed by Content Partners against Paramount.