David Bergstein now dancing with wolves

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David Bergstein now dancing with wolves

Fri May 07, 2010 @ 11:07AM PST
By Eriq Gardner

Dances_with_wolves Another day, another lawsuit involving David Bergstein.

This one is over foreign receipts from the Oscar-winning film "Dances With Wolves." According to the lawsuit, filed this week in L.A. Superior Court, money was allegedly diverted to entities controlled by the embattled film producer.

Dances With Wolves Prods. says it entered into a written agreement in 1997 with Intermedia Film Distribution Limited to distribute the film outside the U.S. and Canada. Intermedia was responsible for obtaining periodic royalty statements and making necessary collections. The lawsuit contends that the licensing revenues were to be paid to a collection account, not to Intermedia directly.

Intermedia then got into financial trouble. In 2008, Bergstein's R Media Acquisitions sued Intermedia for breach of contract, alleging his company was owed nearly $8 million. He sought to take control of Intermedia's film library. Later that year, the court accepted Bergstein's motion to appoint William Shpall as a receiver.

It was Shpall's job to look into Intermedia's assets and receivables, including the money that "Wolves" made in France and other territories. Shpall represented to the court in the R Media suit that the money was owed when it had allegedly been wired to his own bank account and marked as "loan proceeds." 

Dances With Wolves Prods. now says the money was diverted to entities controlled by Bergstein, and that it has been unable to get it back.

The plaintiff now wants $477,000 in revenue for the film, plus exemplary and punitive damages. The defendants in this case are William Shpall, Intermedia and R Media Acquisitions. Here's the complaint, filed by attorney Howard Jay Kaplan.

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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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