Sunday, May 24, 2009

SAG Files Motion to Dismiss Rosenberg Appeal

As you'll recall, several months ago, SAG president Alan Rosenberg and three other hardliners (1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord) sued their own union, seeking to enjoin negotiations and reverse personnel and procedural changes that they correctly anticipated would pave the way for a deal on terms the hardliners are pledged to oppose. Although their requests were denied by both the trial and appeals courts, the lawsuit nonetheless continues in both of those forums (Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC406900 and Second Appellate District 2d Civil No. B214056).

Several days ago, SAG filed a motion to dismiss the appeal, on the grounds that the appeal is moot. You can read the motion here. Even if the court grants the motion, which it ought to, and may well, Rosenberg et al might choose to appeal to the State Supreme Court. They won't get any traction if they do, but regardless of whether or not they do, the lower court case will continue for at least the next few months, and there will be further opportunities to appeal.

So, SAG's legal fees will continue to mount, courtesy of the union's own president and 1st VP. Summer is fire season in Southern California, but it's usually the hillsides that are at risk. This time, though, a bit of SAG's treasury is burning as well.

———————

Subscribe to my blog (jhandel.com) for more about SAG, or digital media law generally. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my new book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets.

8 comments:

  1. Shame on the Membership First Gang of Four
    for helping to deplete SAG's treasury defending
    against such a specious lawsuit.

    Kick'em to the curb, Hollywood. Man your ballots
    to vote YES on the contract,
    then vote these thugs out of office.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A FEW PERTINENT FACTS:

    1. FACT: PLAINTIFFS, ROSENBERG, JOHNSON, McCORD, and LADD (all Hollywood Members} sued, ONLY, those NATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS (NY, RBD, U4S) who, allegedly, used "Written Assent" of the Screen Actors Guild Constitution to effect changes in leadership (staff and elected).

    2. FACT: PLAINTIFFS, ET AL. did NOT sue the Screen Actors Guild, itself.

    3. FACT: ALL BOARD MEMBERS are indemnified by the SAG.

    4. The Guild must defend ALL BOARD MEMBERS, DEFENDANTS, ARKIN, ET AL in this case.

    5. FACT: PLAINTIFFS have NOT sued, for themselves, alone.

    AS DULY ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP of the SCREEN ACTORS GUILD (National Officers and National Board Members) FOUR, NAMED PLAINTIFFS, sued ON THE BEHALF of the 120,000 MEMBERS of the SCREEN ACTORS GUILD.

    6. FACT: The Title Page of the First Amended Complaint, filed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles by FOUR, NAMED, PLAINTIFFS, also indicates that suit was also filed ON BEHALF of ALL 120,000 MEMBERS of the Screen Actors Guild.

    7. FACT: It may be important to note that ET AL as in PLAINTIFFS, ROSENBERG, ET AL, includes the GENERAL MEMBERSHIP of the Screen Actors Guild.

    8. FACT: DEFENDANTS, ARKIN, ET AL. includes ONLY THOSE NATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS who chose to ABuse (?) the "Written Assent" that, allegedly, imposed their WILL upon the National Board Minority (Hollywood).

    9. FACT: As a result, DEFENDANTS, ET AL, (the newly elected SAG slim board majority) succeeded in doing the following: 1) fired and replaced SAG's NED, 2) replaced the Negotiating Team with a Task Force, and 3) muzzled SAG's duly elected board(s), including the MEMBERSHIP'S NATIONALLY ELECTED President, and Secretary/Treasurer.

    10. FACT: The Title Page of THE FOUR, NAMED, PLAINTIFFS' FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT also includes, therein, within the ET. AL, the ENTIRE NATIONAL GENERAL MEMBMERSHIP of the SCREEN ACTORS GUILD, AS PLAINTIFFS.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1 & 2 - false. They also sued SAG itself. Check out the Amended Complaint I posted on ScribD (SAG itself is the next to last defendant listed): http://www.scribd.com/doc/11805617/First-Amended-Cplt

    In fact, a few days ago, plaintiffs dismissed the Board members as defendants. Now SAG is the only defendant, I believe.

    3 & 4 - probably true.

    5 - that's plaintiffs' claim, but they are acting (in the Board's opinion, and I agree) against the interests of the members.

    6-10 - true.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Clarification may be necessary, in this case, to correctly identify Plaintiffs and Defendants, in re the Screen Actors Guild.

    The Screen Actors Guild, a non-profit California corporation may be considered two (2) but not two (2) in that it is both SAG 'INSTITUTION' and SAG 'MEMBERSHIP'.

    Therefore in the Complaint:

    DEFENDANT, Screen Actors Guild, may be referring ONLY to the 'INSTITUTION' (staff/employees; while,

    PLAINTIFF, Screen Actors Guild, may be referring ONLY to the 'MEMBERSHIP' (members/employers).

    Perhaps the Complaint should be Amended, again, so as to be clear which of the two personalities of the Guild, SAG INSITUTION or SAG MEMBERSHIP this Complaint means when it refers to Defendant SAG and/or to Plaintiff SAG.

    ReplyDelete
  5. FACT - Scott Wilson sued SAG, lost, appealed, lost....then becuase MF controled the board, the approved on paying Wilson's legal expenses. Total $385,000.

    Fact: The cost of the Go4 suit to dat is $110,000...and you can be certain that when the smoke settles MF will again try to get SAG to pay for the legal fees.

    MF is very happy to spend SAG's money - your dues moeny. The cost of negotiations (inlcuing the anti AFTRA actions) has costs us over $1 million....to the slow down of work thanks to MF/DA/AR failures have cost our membership $85 million, and the losses continue while they fight the offer (with no plan if they kill the offer)...

    FACT, in that time The SAG P&H is dropped 28% and the loss of member earnings contribute to that.

    FACT: MF fought the Agnecy Franchis Agreement telling everyone that the agents will come crawling back...and years later they haven't.

    The AMPTP is not going to come crawling back with a better offer if the contract is rejected.

    Vote Yes for the contract, and vote NO for MF.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just read and study the proposed contract and you'll know why, to quote David White:

    "The deal sucks!"

    VOTE NO!

    ReplyDelete
  7. There was a Case Management conference in the Superior Court (Judge Chirlin, Dept. 19) on Monday, June 1, with another Case Management conference set for October 15, 2009.

    The case management conference statements from each side are apparently available online. It would be interesting to see what the plaintiffs think they need to do in the litigation, and what SAG thinks it needs to do to defend. I remain convinced that SAG should already have a summary judgment motion on file.

    VG

    ReplyDelete