LOS ANGELES (Jan. 29, 2014) –– Yesterday, a federal court judge dismissed the remainder of a lawsuit against SAG-AFTRA filed by Ed Asner. In his order, United States District Court Judge Manuel L. Real found the court had no jurisdiction over the case because Asner has provided no evidence of the union withholding records that he or any other member of the union have access to review.
The judge found that SAG-AFTRA has provided several agreements for Asner to review and it was “apparent that SAG-AFTRA is working with plaintiffs to allow them to examine records,” according to the dismissal. Because the union has been providing the requested documents to Asner, and because “it is not even clear which books and records, if any, are not being proffered for examination,” the case did not warrant judicial intervention, Real wrote in the Jan. 28 ruling.
SAG-AFTRA Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said, “We are pleased with the judge's order and believe the complete dismissal is fully warranted. The Court acknowledged SAG-AFTRA’s ongoing cooperation with the plaintiffs. SAG-AFTRA has more than 1,000 pages of annual disclosure documents available online to anyone. Despite this unfortunate and unnecessary litigation, we remain focused on collecting and distributing foreign royalties and unclaimed residuals, programs of which we are justifiably proud. We hope that this dismissal will mark an end to such lawsuits that needlessly expend union resources.”
SAG-AFTRA was represented by Bob Bush of Bush Gottlieb.
The SAG-AFTRA foreign royalties program claims funds on behalf of SAG-AFTRA performers under foreign countries’ laws that provide for payments to artists in audiovisual works to compensate for private copying (home recording), cable retransmissions, video rentals and other uses of such works. Over the last six years, the union has distributed more than $17.5 million in foreign royalties to SAG-AFTRA members money that would have been lost to them forever had we not taken action.
A substantial portion of the plaintiffs’ complaint was previously dismissed by Judge Real in October 2013.
Click here to download a copy of the judge's order.