Jury awards $7.3M in 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' fraud case

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Jury awards $7.3M in 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' fraud case

Mon Aug 23, 2010 @ 01:32PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Manfromuncle EXCLUSIVE: A Los Angeles jury has awarded $7.3 million to Anchor Bay Entertainment from a woman who was accused of selling rights to the classic TV series "Man from U.N.C.L.E." that she didn't own.

Lindsay Dunlap and her Ember Entertainment were on trial for fraud and breaching a 2005 contract with Anchor Bay, the DVD distribution arm of Starz Media. Dunlap allegedly approached Anchor Bay claiming to have rights to the hit 1964-68 series, which was originally produced by MGM but was later acquired by Warner Bros. TV (a film version is in the works at Warners). 

Dunlap was able to produce "U.N.C.L.E." masters and footage for DVD extras so Anchor Bay gave her $625,000 ($500,000 for masters and $125,000 for the extras). But when Anchor Bay moved forward to create a DVD release of the classic espionage drama, WBTV sent a cease-and-desist letter claiming it owned the rights. Eventually, Anchor Bay targeted Dunlap and a lawsuit was filed in October 2007. A two-week jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court resulted in a $7.3 million verdict entered on Friday. 

"Anchor Bay Entertainment is very pleased with the jury's verdict," Starz Media in-house attorney Bryan Duran said in a statement. "We were glad the jury was able to see through Dunlap's blatant fraud, holding the wrongdoer responsible for her brazen and reprehensible conduct.

An attorney for Dunlap has not returned a call seeking comment.

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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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