The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s lawsuit against AMC revived as judge grants permission to pursue damages

Almost a year ago, Kirkman and his colleagues hit a roadblock in the case

Peony Hirwani
Thursday 29 July 2021 12:24
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The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and other executive producers have been granted permission to seek new legal theories and punitive damages against AMC Studios.

Kirkman, along with Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Charles Eglee and Glen Mazzara, had challenged the revenue that AMC received from licencing The Walking Dead to its affiliate cable netflix, alleging that it was shortchanging profit participants.

The news comes after AMC paid French-American film director and former Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont and his team $200m (£143m) in the settlement of a lawsuit.

Darabont asserted that the organisation had neglected to pay him a portion of the benefits from the show as per their arrangement.

Almost a year ago, Kirkman and his colleagues hit a roadblock in their when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel J Buckley ruled that AMC “shall” have the authority to characterise how modified adjusted gross receipts (MAGR) are collected from the exhibition of The Walking Dead.

However, on Tuesday (27 July), Judge Buckley made a new ruling. He ruled that despite the fact “fairness arguments” could no longer be used to sue the organisation, the plaintiffs could still pursue legal action against AMC on other grounds.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kirkman’s team can now argue that AMC engaged in alleged tortious obstruction. This centres around the allegation that “AMC Network — which didn’t have direct contractual relations with the show’s producers — had knowledge of its sister company’s dealings and intentionally induced a breach for its own advantage”.

The X-Men writer’s legal team, headed by Sheldon Eisenberg, will have to prove the claims of “tortious interference” and that AMC had information about its sister company’s dealings, which brought about a deliberately induced breach for the company’s own benefit.

AMC’s litigator Orin Snyder called the new development in the case “just an early ruling that a new claim can proceed to discovery”.

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“It is not a ruling on the merits of that claim, on which the Judge said Plaintiffs have ‘a steep uphill battle.’ This new claim is the Plaintiffs’ latest effort to re-write the contracts they signed years ago,” he added. “It is just as meritless as the seven out of seven claims we beat at trial last year, and we are confident we will defeat this new claim as well.”

The Independent has contacted Kirkman and AMC Studios for comment.

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