A union that doesn’t officially exist anymore filed motions today going through the required rules of procedure and attempting to dismiss a lawsuit that it says is dead – and for that the defunct SAG wants prominent anti-SAG-AFTRA merger advocates such as Martin Sheen, Ed Harris and Diane Ladd to pay “attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by this action.” They also want U.S. District Court Judge James Otero to grant “such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.”
In two separate court required answers (Read them here and here) to the lawsuit filed in February to stop a March 30 members vote on the merging of SAG and AFTRA as one union, the “Screen Actors Guild, a dissolved corporation” and individual defendants claimed the primary issue raised by anti-merger forces as irrelevant because “on March 28, 2012, this court refused to block the merger vote, and that 82% of the SAG members who cast ballots voted in favor of the merger.”
The merger was approved by 81.9% of SAG members and 86.1% of AFTRA members in the returned ballot on March 30, immediately creating the new SAG-AFTRA union. The Current SAG-AFTRA co-president Ken Howard, co-secretary-treasurer Amy Aquino and executive VP Ned Vaughn, VPs Mike Hodge and David Hartley-Margolin and NED David White filed an almost replicate document, also claiming that anti-merger worries about “alleged possible future harm” to SAG members Health and Pensions Plans are “entirely speculative, unrealized, not imminent…” Both answers were filed the same day news broke that controversial SAG Pension and Health plans CEO Bruce Dow announced he was “retiring” amidst a civil lawsuit, allegations of wrongdoing and diverted funds. Both answers state that one of the reasons the lawsuit by the ant-merger advocates should be dismissed is to “not unreasonably intrude in SAG’s internal affairs.”
The “dissolved” SAG is represented by Robert Bush of Glendale firm Bush Gottlieb Singer Lopez Kohanski Adelstein & Dickinson. Peter Nussbaum of San Francisco firm Altshuler Berzon represents the individual defendants.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.