Check Out Our New Look

THR Blasted With $150M Defamation Suit By David Bergstein

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 10:02am PST

DJP LEGAL BADGEAfter years of court battles of his own, David Bergstein is now turning the legal spotlight onto The Hollywood Reporter – for $150 million. Earlier this week the film financier filed a defamation suit against the trade and parent company Prometheus Global Media. “Defendants’ reporting included material misstatements which were imgresnot matters of opinion, inference, shading or context, but were simply untrue,” says the February 19 filing in New York state court (read it here). Seeking “not less than” $100 million in damages and $50 million more in other compensation, the detailed complaint alleges that the trade deliberately allowed biased and false reporting against the film financier by one reporter in particular – Alex Ben Block.

Also claiming business interference and conspiracy, the very litigious producer is alleging that Block, who wrote the vast majority of the trade publication’s stories about Bergstein’s bankruptcy and other proceeds, was in the pocket of Aramid Entertainment’s David Molner, a former business associate of the film financier’s and his primary legal adversary. “Plaintiff was advised that Block was paid and compensated by Molner, and Block and defendants were given special access in return for the favorable bias which defendants’ articles set forth. Block and defendants continued to play a key role in furthering Molner’s improper efforts,” the 24-page complaint claims. Read More »

Comments (9)

Film Financier David Bergstein Sues Aramid For Aiding Extortion

By | Tuesday May 14, 2013 @ 5:05pm PDT

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.
Read More »

Comments (3)

Film Financier David Bergstein Sues Bankruptcy Trustee

By | Tuesday December 4, 2012 @ 7:09pm PST

Film financier David Bergstein has gone after his past lawyers in court and now he’s going after his bankruptcy trustee for “waging a personal and vindictive war” against him. In a filing in federal court yesterday (read it here), Bergstein’s UK-based Pangea Media Holdings claims that trustee Ronald Durkin is “doing the bidding of David Molner, Screen Capitol International, and other Molner-affiliated entities (collectively, “Aramid”) as part of Aramid’s broad and wide-ranging attempt to destroy Bergstein and Bergstein-affiliated entities.” Bergstein claims that Durkin and lawyer Leonard Gumport have prevented his Pangea from getting money owned to it from Monaco-based film licensing outfit Daro Film Distribution – and he wants them off his case, literally and figuratively. “Pending the judicial declaration of the rights and duties of the respective parties, Plaintiff requests that upon duly noticed motion supported by competent evidence, the Court issue appropriate interim and permanent injunctive relief in order to restrain the Trustee from contacting or communicating in any manner with parties having a prior and existing business relationship with Plaintiff,” says the complaint.

Related: Film Financier David Bergstein Can’t Sue Aramid Over Former Lawyer, Judge Rules Read More »

Comments (1)

Film Financier David Bergstein Can’t Sue Aramid Over Former Lawyer, Judge Rules

By | Monday October 8, 2012 @ 11:12am PDT

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.

Read More »

Comments (0)

Film Financier David Bergstein’s Suit Against Law Firms Dismissed

By | Tuesday September 25, 2012 @ 4:10pm PDT

Producer and financier David Bergstein suffered a legal defeat today as a judge shut down his $100 million lawsuit against two law firms.  Bergstein claimed the firms — Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and Levene Neale Bender Yoo & Brill, who represent Aramid Entertainment’s David Molner and other creditors in their bankruptcy cases against him — gained confidential information about Bergstein and his companies from his former in-house counsel Susan Tregub while she was still working for him. Judge Michael Linfield agreed with the firms’ separate motions of privileged litigation activities and said they were simply doing their jobs for their client, Molner. This afternoon’s ruling was not unexpected: Last week, the judge released a tentative decision indicating his leaning in the case. Linfield added today that Bergstein’s actions were restricted by the one-year statute of limitations for legal malpractice. Bergstein’s lawyer Alex Weingarten said he plans to file an appeal. “I feel very confident we will win on appeal,” he said.

Related: David Bergstein Ends Miramax Lawsuit Read More »

Comments (2)

Film Financier David Bergstein’s $50M Case Against 2nd Ex-Lawyer Tossed Out

By | Tuesday September 4, 2012 @ 8:23pm PDT

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. Read More »

Comments (1)

UPDATE: Capitol’s David Bergstein Awarded $50M+$500K In Lawsuit Against Ex-Counsel

By | Wednesday August 22, 2012 @ 5:07pm PDT

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The jury came back today with an additional judgment of $500,000 in punitive damages.

David BergsteinTUESDAY 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.

Related: David Bergstein Sues Aramid Entertainment

The two-year case arose from Tregub going to work for Aramid Entertainment Fund in 2009 after Capitol. Read More »

Comments 23

David Bergstein Sues Aramid Entertainment

By | Thursday June 21, 2012 @ 7:49pm PDT

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.

Related: David Bergstein Reaches Miramax Deal, Drops His Own Lawsuit

Comments (3)

Aramid, Screen Capital, David Molner Sued By Ronald Tutor, Library Asset Co.

By | Wednesday May 30, 2012 @ 8:34pm PDT

In yet another kink in the legal tangle involving former companies associated with financier David Bergstein, investor Ronald Tutor and Library Asset Acquisition Co. filed suit today in Los Angeles Superior Court against Aramid Entertainment, Screen Capital International Corp, Aramid Capital Partners Chairman David Molner and others. Tutor — one of a group of investors who bought Miramax from Disney in 2010 — contends that despite the complexity, the issue boils down to “a rather simple case of breach of contract, the contract being a written release agreement.” (You can read the colorfully worded lawsuit here.) Read More »

Comments (0)

Ron Tutor Hopes To Shed Entertainment Assets Within 10 Days

By | Friday May 4, 2012 @ 7:01pm PDT

Investor Ron Tutor told analysts and journalists today on an earnings call for his multi-billion-dollar construction businesses that he was looking to unload at least some of his share of movie business assets within the next 10 days. Tutor is one of a group of investors who purchased Miramax from Disney for $663 million in 2010. In response to a question near the end of the call, Tutor said if for any reason the plan to shed movie assets falls through, he likely will execute a stock sale in July. Some of the assets are tied up in bankruptcy or other litigation, but onetime Tutor investment associate David Bergstein has agreed to drop his litigation concerning his dealings with Colony Capital in exchange for “a small amount of money” for his efforts to achieve the Miramax purchase.

It’s Official: Disney Seals Miramax Sale
David Bergstein Reaches Miramax Deal, Drops His Own Lawsuit

Comments (0)

David Bergstein Ends Miramax Lawsuit

By | Tuesday April 24, 2012 @ 11:25am PDT

David Bergstein Miramax LawsuitFinancier David Bergstein and Miramax owners Filmyard Holdings have reached an agreement today on their ongoing legal dispute. No details of the deal were made public, other than that Bergstein will dismiss the case he filed against the company and investors April 9. However, a source close to the arrangement tells Deadline that Bergstein will receive a “small amount of money in the deal.” The source added, “this is a full retraction by David and he holds no stake in the company.” Bergstein had claimed in the suit that he was owned 3.3% of the company and $6 million for putting the deal together in the first place. “I am pleased that I was able to sit down with my counterparties in this suit, discuss our differences and resolve them,” said Bergstein. “I fully retract the claims made in the lawsuit against Filmyard, Miramax, Colony Capital, Richard Nanula and Josh Grode. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their understanding and cooperation.” Read More »

Comments (4)

David Bergstein Sues Rival’s Lawyers

By | Friday April 20, 2012 @ 1:24pm PDT

David Bergstein LawsuitFilm financier David Bergstein sued LA law firms Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and Levene Neale Bender Yoo & Brill today over his former lawyer Susan Tregub switching sides. Seeking at least $100 million in damages, Bergstein alleges the firms gained confidential information about him and his companies from Tregub while she was his in-house attorney. Stroock and Levene Neale represent Aramid Entertainment Fund’s David Molner and other creditors in their bankruptcy cases against Bergstein. “In the course of their representation, Defendants have crossed the line from zealous advocacy from the netherworld of unethical misconduct,” the 51-page complaint says (read the suit here). Stoock partner Daniel Rozansky and Levene Neale partners David Neale, Irving Gross, and Beth Young are also named as defendants. Bergstein, who is represented by Alex Weingarten of LA-based Weingarten Brown, seeks a jury trial. Read More »

Comments (3)

David Bergstein Lawsuit Claims He Was Shoved Aside After Miramax Sale

By | Monday April 9, 2012 @ 3:54pm PDT

Film financier David Bergstein has filed suit over Disney’s December 2010 sale of Miramax to a group of investors including Colony Capital, Filmyard Holdings, Miramax chairman Richard Nanula, and other individuals involved in the deal. The suit, which you can read here, was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court. Bergstein alleges numerous counts of fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and that he is owed money for his role in facilitating the $660 million transaction for Miramax. His claims include arranging crucial financing for the deal and that without ”the capital he expended and his considerable efforts, there would not have been a deal”.

In putting together his initial campaign to purchase Miramax, the suit alleges Bergstein approached investor Ron Tutor and led evaluation and due diligence on Miramax and its film library. Additionally, the suit claims Bergstein created a business plan that ultimately was put into place once the acquisition was completed. But after Bergstein won the competition to acquire Miramax, the suit alleges, Colony Capital and its CEO Tom Barrack approached Tutor and asked to join the deal in exchange for investing $100 million of its own money. The lawsuit claims there was an agreement for Bergstein and his Exodus Film Co to receive a non-dilutable 5% equity in the deal, a 1% transaction fee, and consulting agreement.

The suit says Colony’s Barrack subsequently asked Bergstein to reduce his equity … Read More »

Comments (8)

David Bergstein Sues His Former Attorney

By | Monday August 29, 2011 @ 6:22pm PDT

Film financier David Bergstein today sued his former attorney Teri Zimon for $50M, claiming she shared confidential information and aided his creditors in bankruptcy proceedings while working for him. Bernstein claims that Zimon teamed with another of his former attorneys, Susan Tregub, to provide creditors with confidential data, leak negative stories about Bergstein to the media and encourage creditors to initiate involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against him. Bergstein’s suit claims that Zimon was aiding his creditors from mid-2009 through January 2010, while in his employ from December 2008 through March 2010. The suit was filed in L.A. Superior Court.

Comments (10)

David Bergstein Bankrupcty Investigation To Be Unsealed Again

By | Wednesday April 20, 2011 @ 6:19pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Bankruptcy Court Judge Barry Russell has decided to unseal the findings of bankruptcy trustee Ronald L. Durkin in the matter of embattled film financier David Bergstein. The decision was rendered during a status conference held in the judge’s chambers today. This is the 408-page document that was initially made public but then sealed after protests by Bergstein. It’s a very long document, but for those who have some time on their hands and an interest in seeing what Durkin came up with after his painstaking investigation, here you go.

Comments (2)

To Seal Or Unseal: David Bergstein Bankruptcy Findings Go Before Judge Tomorrow

By | Tuesday April 19, 2011 @ 4:56pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Tomorrow brings the latest chapter in the drama over whether the exhaustive findings by bankruptcy court trustee Ronald L. Durkin should once again be made public in the case involving film financier David Bergstein and his creditors. A status conference before Bankruptcy Court Judge Barry Russell tomorrow at 2 PM may well decide whether the painstaking 371-page document (not including 21 volumes of exhibits) are once again approved for public consumption. They paint a damning picture of Bergstein, starting with the deletion of computer emails and an unwillingness to hand over computers for forensic analysis. There is also an unflattering portrait of Ronald Tutor, the billionaire owner of Miramax Films whose position at the front of the line of creditors could be called into question as a result of Durkin’s findings. Russell ordered the documents to be unsealed, but then they were quickly re-sealed following a motion filed by Bergstein to keep them private. At stake is the fate of a library of about 1300 films, and there aren’t many libraries like that that aren’t spoken for. Stay tuned.

Comments (6)

‘Nailed’ Gets Test Screening, Though Nobody Told The Cast And Filmmakers

Mike Fleming

Remember Nailed, the film David O Russell helmed before he made the Oscar-nominated The Fighter? That picture, which endured a litany of production shutdowns before Russell finally exited because he couldn’t get the money for post-production, got a recruited screening last night at the Arclight Pasadena. The film became a symbol of the financial troubles that have plagued embattled financier/producer David Bergstein, and sure enough, I’m told the cast and filmmakers were left in the dark about it. I’ve gotten reports from the premises. The title wasn’t divulged on the invitation, but the invite played up that this was a movie made by Russell–who was remade into an Irishman. The invite described the film as “From David O’Russell, the Oscar-nominated director of The Fighter, Three Kings and Flirting with Disaster.” The pic stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, James Marsden, Catherine Keener, Tracy Morgan and Paul Reubens. It’s basically a satirical comedy about health care. A small town waitress (Biel) gets a nail lodged into her head, which prompts her to behave impulsively and often irrationally. She can’t afford to have the nail removed because she doesn’t have health care, and heads to DC where she develops a relationship with a congressman (Gyllenhaal). Her attempt to wage a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-type campaign for health care reform is challenged by the nutty things she does because of her affliction. Now, Russell has shown a deft hand at this … Read More »

Comments 33

TOLDJA! Tutor Confirms David Bergstein Won’t Have Role In New Miramax

Back on July 7th and again on July 8th, I was first to report that the notorious film financier David Bergstein “was being pushed aside” and would have no role in Miramax once it was purchased from Disney by construction magnate Ron Tutor and Santa Monica-based Colony Capital. (I wrote: “As for the notorious film financier David Bergstein, I’ve learned his role is over as soon as the deal is finished. ‘He gets paid for packaging the deal and consulting on the transaction. Then that’s it,’ an insider tells me.”) On Sunday, Tutor confirmed my reporting in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. But I’m bewildered why the trade tried to claim he “unleashed a bombshell” that there will be no role in Miramax for his pal Bergstein. How utterly classless of The Hollywood Reporter — and Alex Ben Block, who knows better – not to give Deadline credit. Then again, THR and Variety, too, steal so much content from Deadline without credit on an almost daily basis, it’s clear the trades have no shame anymore.

Comments (13)

Former Disney CFO Richard Nanula Now Leading Ron Tutor’s Miramax Negotiations; “Bullet Train” Deal Could Close In A Week; Disney May Get Its $700M Asking Price; Harvey Weinstein Threatening Lawsuit

miramax_logo_blackEXCLUSIVE – UPDATED FROM 8:30 AM: Forget the bizarre involvement of David Bergstein, and Morgan Creek’s James Robinson, and even Rob Lowe. (I know, I know… I’ve learned Lowe may pull in Arnold Schwarzenegger post-November.) More on them in a minute. But they’re just the side show. Instead, I can report that, 5 days ago, Santa Monica-based Colony Capital, the private international investment firm which currently has $30 billion of assets under its management, was brought in by construction magnate Ron Tutor to help him buy Miramax from Disney. The reason? Because two years ago, Colony Capital president Tom Barrack hired 12-year Disney popular executive and former CFO Richard Nanula who’s now leading the Tutor negotiations with the Mouse House point man on the Miramax sale, Kevin Mayer, who’s EVP for Disney’s Corporate Strategy in the Business Development and Technology Group.

So, for the past five days, Nanula has organized a team of “25 guys working on it 24 hours a day” to get the deal done “like a bullet train”, I’ve learned — maybe as soon as next week. My insiders tell me that Disney could get very near to the $700 million price it’s recently wanted for Miramax — a big raise from the $625M, maybe even $650M max, which the Weinstein brothers/Ron Burkle/Fortress-Colbeck partnership seemed ready to pay until talks broke down. The reason is that Nanula and his team have now confirmed from due diligence that Miramax is sitting on a lot of cash, as much as $300M in receivables. That’s more than even the Weinstein partnership told me was out there.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned that Harvey is a Barrack pal, and the Weinstein bro is spitting mad that Tutor now looks to snag Miramax with Colony Capital’s help. “Harvey is very agitated,” an insider tells me. “He’s threatening litigation everywhere.” That’s vintage Harv: when he loses, he sues. Of course, the Weinstein brothers wanted to reclaim their former company because of its sentimental value: it’s named after their parents, Miriam and Max. To that end, I’ve previously reported how Harvey privately is warning to screw over anyone even thinking of buying Miramax. Under their exit deal in 2005, the Weinstein bros were able to retain a hold over sequel or reboot rights to films like Scream, Spy Kids and some other Dimension titles. Harv, in his inimitable way, has said he’ll do what he can to make developing those projects a nightmare.

Because the Tutor group has signed a non-disclosure agreement and entered into an exclusive negotiating period with Disney, no one is publicly commenting on anything. From Disney’s POV, it’s “still negotiating” with the Tutor group. But its comfort level has vastly improved now that Nanula has taken charge. The Harvard alum was the youngest CFO of a Fortune 500 company when he took the fiscal reins of the $22B corporation. He left in 1998 to become president and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts to work for his best friend Barry Sternlicht. Then Barrack snatched him up 2 years ago. Barrack, too, has tangential Disney ties. He worked with Robert Bass, one of the Texas billionaire Bass brothers whose 1983 investment rescued the Hollywood studio.

Meanwhile, on Nanula’s team is also Justin Chang whom Barrack hired in April as a principal responsible for extending the Colony brand into complementary areas. Chang most recently served as a partner of TPG Capital, the international private investment firm which took a bath on MGM.

I’ve learned that Tutor first approached Barrack last week “because he was queasy about the existing guys he had,” an insider tells me. “especially about David and the baggage he brings.” Before Tutor brought in Colony Capital, he was being advised by two of Hollywood’s most controversial and disliked figures: not just troubled film financier/distributor David Bergstein, whose film companies this year were placed in involuntary bankruptcy; but also his good friend, Morgan Creek’s James Robinson whose company has a mediocre track record. I understand that both men are being pushed aside now. Read More »

Comments (9)
More Deadline | Hollywood »