Complex Lawsuit against Warner Brothers over “The Conjuring” Heads to Arbitration
Wednesday, November, 12, 2014
“The Conjuring” was a successful film produced by Warner Brothers that has brought in $318 million worldwide so far and spawned several sequels (some still in pre-production). The Evergreen Media Group, led by Tony DeRosa-Grund, has been involved in a lawsuit against Warner Brothers alleging a laundry list of contractual violations: That Mr. DeRosa-Grund was illegally denied a producer credit on the film’s sequels; that Warner Brother’s attempted to violate his exclusive agreement with Lorraine Warren, on whom the film’s main character is based; and interfered illegally with his attempts to sign a deal for a television series based on the material. He has also accused Warner Brothers of defaming him in public.
DeRosa-Grund also sought to have the arbitration clauses in his contracts with Warner Brothers to be invalidated, but the judge in the case declined to do so, noting that DeRosa-Grund negotiated his contract with Warner for months with the assistance of several attorneys.
The arbitrator assigned has been asked to review the arbitration clauses. If they conclude they are unconscionable, the judge will dismiss the complaint without prejudice, which allows for the possibility of re-filing without detriment to the claim. However, if they agree with the judge’s ruling that they are acceptable, then the arbitration will be handled through JAMS and will be binding.
The case is complicated by the complex web of rights, as DeRosa-Grund purchased rights from Lorraine Warren, and then sold the rights to specific stories to Warner Brothers. Warren and her husband have inspired several successful film franchises, including “The Amityville Horror.”