In the ongoing legal battles between Elie Samaha's Franchise Pictures and Germany's Intertainment AG, Intertainment has won its first court decision.
A federal district court yesterday upheld two of the three racketeering and corruption (RICO) claims brought by Intertainment against Franchise and its two principals Samaha and Andrew Stevens.
In its lawsuit, Intertainment alleges that Franchise and its principals submitted fraudulently inflated budgets to Intertainment on films including 3,000 Miles To Graceland, The Whole Nine Yards, The Pledge, Get Carter and Angel Eyes.
In addition to the two RICO (Rackeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) claims, the court also upheld the allegation of a criminal enterprise involving Imperial Bank (now named Comerica Bank) and WorldWide Film Completion Inc, finding that "there are sufficient specific facts outlining third parties Imperial Bank and WorldWide's involvement in the fraudulent scheme."
In April this year, the US district court dismissed Intertainment's RICO claims against Franchise, saying that Intertainment did not satisfy legal requirements for alleging its claims. In March, Franchise won a court victory against Intertainment, seeing Intertainment liable for $6.5m for failing to make payment on delivery of the 2001 film Caveman's Valentine.
Intertainment is seeking in excess of $75m in damages from Franchise; the trial is scheduled for Nov 19.