Morgan Freeman car crash leads 'Charlotte Doyle' investor to sue Danny DeVito

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Morgan Freeman car crash leads 'Charlotte Doyle' investor to sue Danny DeVito

Thu May 28, 2009 @ 01:17PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Dannydevito_228x275 Morgan Freeman's car crash last year may have claimed another legal victim.

Investors are suing Danny DeVito after his film project, "True Confession of Charlotte Doyle," hit a speed bump following Freeman's traffic accident. According to a new complaint filed in New York Supreme Court, Bentley Industries says it raised $3.5 million for the project, as well as $10 million more in equity for a slate of 15 films, but couldn't get DeVito and his Jersey Films production company to make a five percent equity pay-out as required by the deal.

DeVito was slated to direct "True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle," based on his own screenplay of a book adaptation, and Freeman, Pierce Brosnan, and Saoirse Ronan were set to star in the film about moral issues confronting a 13-year-old girl.

Bentley says it provided DeVito with potential funding sources, including George Soros and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, and DeVito is said to have promised a five percent payout of equity proceeds obtained by Jersey Films. (The contract was later modified with additional fee sharing arrangements and new parties to the deal, and the film also took out insurance from Fireman's Fund, one of the defendants in this lawsuit.)

Freeman was seriously injured in an auto accident during filming last summer, suspending the production. In a separate lawsuit, a passenger in the vehicle is suing Freeman over that incident. An insurance claim was submitted.

Bentley now claims it is owed the five percent equity pay-out, or $500,000 and interest, plus it wants Fireman's Fund to deposit $1 million in a trust fund, pending the outcome of the case.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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