A judge has ruled that companies owned by financier Bob Yari owe Paul Haggis, Brendan Fraser, producer Mark Harris and screenwriter Bobby Moresco $12 million for “Crash,” which won the best picture Oscar in 2006.
Haggis was the film’s writer and director, Fraser an actor in it, Moresco a co-writer and Harris a producer.
Back in July, Judge Daniel J. Buckley of the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that Yari’s companies had breached contracts with the four individuals by withholding profits owed to them from the film. "Crash" grossed more than $100 million at the global box office and millions more in DVD sales and other home entertainment platforms.
In this latest decision, dated Dec. 15, Buckley ruled on the damages and said he would consider a motion holding Yari and his Davand holding company personally liable. Buckley said that Yari unjustly charged items like Oscar tickets to the film, reducing the pool of profits for the writer/director, actor and co-writer.
"Instead of conducting a proper accounting, Yari engaged in a practice of manipulating assets way from Crash Distribution to prevent recovery by plaintiffs."
The $12 million total is a combination of about $9 million in profits denied and $3 million in interest.
How the amounts will be split up is being resolved by the parties. Haggis' attorney Peter Dekom, who did not litigate the case, declined to go into the details.
"Bob Yari didn’t lose any money whatsoever on 'Crash.' None,'" Dekom said. "He made a wild profit. How he spent it on other movies is not our concern but the bottom line is this is justice well-served." Yari's representative did not immediately return a request for comment.
Behzad Nahai, a representative for the "entity defendants," said "from the perspective of our clients we vehemently but respectfully disagree with the court's decision. We also believe that Persik productions, formerly Yari Productions, which took financial risk and produced and financed risk when everybody else had declined to do so, is in effect, by this decision, being required to return any profit it made on the movie."
Yari has been involved in several lawsuits as a result of “Crash,” including actor Matt Dillon’s suit claiming he is owed more than $100,000. That case remains unresolved.