Judge Rules for SAG-AFTRA in Ed Asner Royalties Case

Judge Rules for SAG-AFTRA in Ed Asner Royalties Case

The plaintiffs’ suit alleging that $132 million in residuals was wrongfully withheld is dismissed

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against SAG-AFTRA by Ed Asner and 15 other plaintiffs who claimed the union has wrongfully withheld $132 million in residuals and foreign royalties.

U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real said in a filing Wednesday that he had granted the union’s dismissal motion, noting that union has been cooperating in providing access to its materials. The plaintiffs had claimed that they had not been allowed to examine all the documents they need to pursue their case.

“At this point in time it is apparent that SAG-AFTRA is working with plaintiffs to allow them to examine records SAG-AFTRA believes they are entitled to examine,” Real said. “The dispute over such examination is therefore not ‘definite and concrete’ because it is not even clear which books and records, if any, are not being proferred for examination.”

Also read: Federal Judge Tosses Much of Ed Asner's Suit Against SAG-AFTRA

The legal action was originally filed in May and alleged that the union ran their foreign royalty system in a manner designed to improperly funnel money into the union's general fund. Judge Real narrowed the issues on Oct. 7, ruling that the issues had been addressed in a 2010 case brought by former “Leave it to Beaver” star Ken Osmond, but allowed three of the 16 plaintiffs to proceed with their claims.

In November, SAG-AFTRA filed a motion to dismiss which said that the plaintiffs’ claims under state law should be tossed because they were preempted by federal labor law.

The ruling doesn't necessarily end the case. The judge declined to rule because he didn't believe he had jurisdiction. The two sides could work out guidelines for a further examination of SAG-AFTRA records, and a new lawsuit could be filed.