On August 8, 2013, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Stone denied, for a second time, actor Kevin Costner’s claim that Morgan Creek Productions Inc. fraudulently denied him profits from the 90’s hit film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. However, Judge Stone granted the actor leave to amend the complaint to re-plead a claim for fraud keeping alive the possibility for a damages award more significant than one based solely on breach of contract.
In his decision, Judge Stone found insufficient facts to support an independent claim for fraud, and noted that all of the allegations for the fraud cause of action were predicated on the alleged contractual duties already imposed on MorganCreek. Judge Stone further held that the company that produced the movie was already obligated, pursuant to contract, to provide Costner with proper profit participation statements.
Costner first brought suit against MorganCreek last year alleging that the production company had agreed to share with him profits from the 1991 blockbuster that ultimately grossed $390 from movie ticket sales. In his complaint, Costner alleged that Morgan Creek had recently stopped paying him any of the profits he was owed and had intentionally concealed information and employed improper accounting practices with respect to the profits he was paid.
According to the actor, MorganCreek had agreed to share with him home video revenues by paying him the higher of (1) 10% of the money Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. made by distributing the videos or (2) whatever Morgan Creek received, minus a 25% distribution fee. Costner alleged that MorganCreek refused to report how much money it was earning from the videos and used only the first option paying him 10% of the Warner Brother receipts.
MorganCreek has responded by claiming that Costner was paid over $40 million dollars in profits since 1991 and it has fully complied with its contractual obligations to Costner.
Trial is tentatively scheduled for March of 2014.