Weinsteins, Lionsgate settling 'Precious' litigation

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Weinsteins, Lionsgate settling 'Precious' litigation

Tue Apr 06, 2010 @ 09:05PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Push EXCLUSIVE: The long-running legal battle over "Precious" is about to come to an end. Sources tell us the Weinstein Co. and Lionsgate have agreed to a complete settlement that will end the bicoastal litigation over ownership of the Oscar-winning drama. The parties are negotiating the language of a press release to announce the deal.

Barring any last-minute maneuvering, no money will change hands, we're told. 

TWC and Lionsgate traded lawsuits in January 2009 after Harvey Weinstein claimed he bought the acclaimed Lee Daniels film at Sundance, days before sales agent John Sloss announced he'd sold it to Lionsgate. The heated dispute between TWC, Lionsgate, Sloss' Cinetic Media and the film's producers spawned four separate suits in New York and California, not to mention much mudslinging between superlawyers David Boies and Bert Fields (for TWC) and Patty Glaser (for Lionsgate and the producers).

TWC's New York case hit a major snag in September, when U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald dismissed a key part of the suit for failing to state a valid legal claim. Buchwald found that the late-night Sundance negotiations that Harvey and crew said proved the movie was theirs never amounted to a valid copyright transfer. The ruling in the New York case prompted Lionsgate to move for summary judgment in L.A.

A hearing on that motion is scheduled for April 23, which got the two sides into settlement mode. Now, barring a last-minute breakdown in talks, the scheduled June 23 trial won't happen. And given how expensive the legal firepower in this case is and how little chance TWC had of winning after the New York ruling, we're sure everyone involved will be happy to be done with this mess.  

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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 [email protected]

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