EXCLUSIVE: Film financier Mark Brooke, co-founder of UK-based Aramid Entertainment, has jumped to finance and production co. Kilburn Media. He joins the company as a partner alongside Kilburn partners Mark Manuel and Ted O’Neal and, with Manuel and O’Neal, is launching a new holding company called Pathway Entertainment. Brooke parted ways with Aramid in 2011 but while there helped back nearly two dozen features as exec producer, including How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, W., and In The Loop. Kilburn Media’s expanding focus is on feature and TV investments, with upcoming projects including the Liam Hemsworth-Teresa Palmer thriller Cut Bank, ensemble comedy Flock of Dudes, Jon Favreau‘s Chef, and Barbra Streisand‘s untitled directorial project.
The three-year legal saga between David Bergstein and Aramid Entertainment’s David Molner took a further turn today as the producer and film financier sued Aramid and others for extortion. The three-claim complaint (read it here) alleges that after Bergstein refused to pay his former friend Parmjit Singh Parmar the $5 million the broke health care entrepreneur was demanding, Parmar switched loyalties to Molner. “Parmar proceeded to publicly provide Molner with the illegally recorded telephone conversations and other confidential information that Parmar had obtained through his position as Bergstein’s trusted confidant. By and through Parmar’s insidious conduct, Molner came into position of information detrimental to Bergstein to which Molner would never have had access, nor been entitled,” claims the dense 25-page complaint filed today in LA Superior Court.
In yet another legal setback for the producer and film financier, a judge has ruled that David Bergstein cannot sue the employers of his former lawyer Susan Tregub even if she did switch sides against him. “The fact that it is alleged that defendants aided and abetted Tregub does not change this into an action by a client against its attorney,” wrote Judge Michael Linfield (read ruling here) last Wednesday. As he has previously in other aspects of this case, Judge Linfield last week also agreed with Aramid that their interaction and discussions with Bergstein’s former in-house counsel were protected by litigation privilege. ”It’s a technical pleading issue, the case is not dismissed and we have no expectation that the case will be dismissed,” Bergstein lawyer Alex Weingarten told Deadline today. “We will file an amended complaint.” Bergstein has 30 days to file a newly amended complaint in the matter. While not unexpected due to a tentative decision the judge released earlier last week along the same lines, this is the latest in a series of twists in defendant Aramid Entertainment and plaintiff Bergstein’s various lawsuits related to the producer’s 2010 bankruptcy.
The statute of limitations sank David Bergstein’s latest lawsuit against one of his former lawyers says a judge. Citing that the film financier’s claims against Teri Zimon for legal malpractice are subjected to a one-year statute of limitations under California law, Judge Alan Rosenfield granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment (read it here) on August 30. While this effectively throws the case against Zimon out and the $50M in damages that the film financier was seeking, Bergstein can still appeal the ruling.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The jury came back today with an additional judgment of $500,000 in punitive damages.
TUESDAY 7:15 PM: Deadline has learned that a Los Angeles Superior Court jury today unanimously awarded the controversial film financier David Bergstein the $49.5 million damages against his former in-house counsel Susan Tregub at Capitol Film for breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice. But this isn’t over yet. Today’s verdict determined that Tregub (now in private practice) acted with malice, so the second phase of the trial involving punitive damages will start tomorrow when the monetary figure could go higher.
The two-year case arose from Tregub going to work for Aramid Entertainment Fund in 2009 after Capitol.
In the continuing legal saga involving his former companies, financier David Bergstein has filed suit against Aramid Entertainment, Aramid Capital Partners and its Chairman David Molner and others alleging breach of contract, promissory fraud and other charges associated with loans made to Bergstein’s former companies. Bergstein’s suit, which follows similar action filed last month by investor Ronald Tutor, asserts Aramid has been paid nearly $3 million in settlements for the loans in question but are refusing to honor the associated release of claims against the assets involved. You can read Bergstein’s latest lawsuit here.