More than two months since original The Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont and CAA sued AMC, over unpaid fees and other claims, the cable station has finally replied. In a dry point-by-point 10-page retort filed today in the Supreme Court of New York, AMC denied all of the plaintiffs’ claims and asked for the case to be dismissed. “Defendants deny that Plaintiffs are entitled to any relief, whether monetary, compensatory, declarative, equitable, costs, and/or fees relating to this matter, or in any other form sought by Plaintiffs,” said the filing (read it here). “We look forward to demonstrating through the legal process that this is a baseless lawsuit built on claims that have no merit,” an AMC spokesperson told me today. The dense December 17 complaint that Darabont and CAA filed against AMC Network Entertainment and others alleged that the former WD EP and his agency were cheated out of contractually assured profits from the blockbuster zombie apocalypse series.
Darabont and CAA’s 24-page plus exhibits filing late last year also claimed that AMC enacted a limbo-low license-fee shell game to the show based on Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels to pad its own pockets. It also said that cabler snagged some tax money from the state of Georgia and ran the in-house produced mega-series at an ongoing multimillion-dollar deficit. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the real reason Darabont was suddenly kiboshed from The Walking Dead back in July 2011 during production on Season 2 of the show was so AMC could get out of paying him increased fees the producer would be entitled to in Season 2 and 3 under an agreement he and the company had worked out in February of that year.
AMC were originally supposed to response to Darabont and CAA’s earlier this year but had the deadline extended to February 20 on January 27. With AMC’s filing today, the plaintiffs now have until March 24 to serve any opposition paperwork and then the defendants have until April 7 to respond to that. So, unless someone goes for a very quick settlement, expect this to still be before the courts when promos for the next season of The Walking Dead hit the air later this year.
Marc Kasowitz and Aaron Marks of NYC firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP are representing AMC in the case.
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