SAG settles foreign levies class action

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SAG settles foreign levies class action

Fri Aug 13, 2010 @ 05:35AM PST

By Matthew Belloni

SAG_logo The Screen Actors Guild has reached a tentative settlement of the class action lawsuit accusing it of withholding millions of dollars of overseas distribution revenues from members, the last of the major guilds to make a deal in the so-called "foreign levies" cases. 

The settlement, first reported by the LA Daily Journal and confirmed by the plaintiffs' lawyer Neville Johnson, brings an end to a case filed in 2007 by lead plaintiff Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell from "Leave It to Beaver"). The class action on behalf of more than 30,000 actors claimed the guild failed to distribute to members more than $8 million in monies from taxes levied on foreign TV broadcasts and rentals since 1992. 

Similar class action cases were filed by Johnson against the DGA and WGA West. Those cases settled with the directors and writers guilds agreeing to an independent review of their foreign levy programs and an attempt to pay out the undistributed funds within three years.   

Johnson says the amount of the unpaid SAG levies has increased to $12 million since the lawsuit was filed, though it's not clear what the framework of the settlement will be. The SAG deal must still be approved by judge Carl West of the Los Angeles Superior Court. 

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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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