2:39pm PT by Eriq Gardner
'Walking Dead' Trial Set for May 2020
It's been more than five years since Frank Darabont and Creative Artists Agency sued AMC over profits to The Walking Dead. So what's one more?
On Tuesday, at a status conference, the parties learned that the huge profits case with more than $300 million on the line will head to trial in May 2020. This comes after New York Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten largely denied summary judgment motions in December. Neither side is appealing. A jury will thus be deciding whether AMC has to impute a fair-market value for the highly rated series or whether Darabont and his reps allowed AMC to set the amount with certain limitations.
Overseeing the trial will be Justice Joel Cohen, who took over the case when Bransten retired at the end of the year.
The summary judgment briefing spilled massive amounts of financials and depositions into the public domain, and the trial will showcase even more about Hollywood dealmaking (assuming no settlement in the interim). The parties are also still engaged in discovery for the follow-up second lawsuit over an audit, but both cases will be consolidated for purposes of trial.
Of course, schedules could change. "We’ll put this in, in something between pencil and pen," Cohen said Tuesday.
Both sides had comment.
"We are thrilled that Justice Cohen set a trial date, and we look forward to trying both the original self dealing case and additional audit claims before a jury," said Chad Fitzgerald of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert, attorney for Darabont and CAA.
Orin Snyder, attorney for AMC, said, "We look forward to our day in court and proving that this case is nothing more than a money grab by CAA and a gang of Hollywood lawyers who have already been paid millions and millions of dollars for their participation in The Walking Dead.”