QUINN EMANUEL WINS ARBITRATION FOR FILM FINANCES, INC.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Monday, January 4, 2010 – Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP announced today that it obtained an arbitration award in favor of its client, Finance Films, Inc., the widely known international company that issues completion bonds to film, television, digital, and interactive productions, against Fortis Mediacom Finance S.A., in a case involving Spike Lee’s latest film, The Miracle at St. Anna. The case, Film Finances, Inc. v. Fortis Mediacom Finance, S.A., was tried by Quinn Emanuel partner, Gary E. Gans, in Los Angeles, before the arbitration tribunal of the Independent Film & Television Alliance.
The case arose out of Fortis Mediacom’s demand for payment on a guaranty issued by our client. Fortis Mediacom, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas Fortis, made a loan of $11 million to finance a portion of the production costs of Miracle at St. Anna. As part of the security for the loan, Film Finances issued a guaranty to Fortis that the film would be completed and delivered to the international distributor, TF1 International, according to certain criteria including a running time of less than 2 hours and a requirement that the film be based on an approved screenplay. However, Mr. Lee initially made a 2 hour 40 minute film. When TF1 refused to pay its license fee of $11 million because of the running time, Mr. Lee cut 40 minutes from the film. TF1 then refused to pay because the film purportedly was no longer based on the approved screenplay. Fortis then turned to Film Finances for payment.
Quinn Emanuel initiated an arbitration to prove that our client satisfied its obligations to complete the film. Quinn Emanuel proved that the running time requirement was waived with respect to the first version of the film and that the second version was based on the approved screenplay. The arbitrator ruled in favor of Film Finances, dismissed an $11 million cross-claim and awarded Film Finances its attorney’s fees and costs. The United States District Court confirmed the award.
“We are pleased with the award,” said lead partner Gary Gans. “It vindicates not only Film Finances, but also Spike Lee’s right to make a film reflecting his vision of a significant historical event.” Mr. Gans is based in Quinn Emanuel’s Los Angeles office and specializes in the representation of many entertainment industry clients in litigation involving motion picture financing, production and distribution, copyright, trade secrets and unfair competition. He has extensive experience in jury and non-jury trials, appeals in state and federal courts and in arbitrations in the U.S. and the U.K.
Quinn Emanuel is a 400+ lawyer business litigation firm — the largest in the world devoted solely to business litigation — with offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, London and Tokyo. Firm lawyers have tried over 1290 cases, winning over 90% percent of them. When representing defendants, our trial experience gets us better settlements or defense verdicts. When representing plaintiffs, our lawyers have won over $10 billion in judgments and settlements. We are the only firm in the United States that has won four nine-figure jury verdicts in the last seven years. We have also obtained four nine-figure and two ten-figure settlements in the same period. Further information about the firm is available at www.quinnemanuel.com.