Judge agrees with defendants Paramount and MTV Films that two counts in "Hustle & Flow" suit should not go forward
John Singleton's lawsuit against Paramount Pictures and MTV Films hit a bump in the road Thursday, as a judge denied two of the counts in Singleton's complaint.
In a summary adjudication, Judge Amy D. Hogue of the Los Angeles Superior Court agreed with Paramount and MTV that the rescission and unjust enrichment claims filed by Singleton and his Crunk Pictures in the suit should not go forward.
Hogue cited a paragraph in the parties' contract which states, "No breach of this Agreement by [Paramount and MTV Films] shall entitle [Crunk] to enjoin the distribution, marketing, publicity, promotion, or other exploitation of the Picture and [Crunk's] sole remedy for any breach of this agreement shall be limited to an action at law for money damages."
Hogue found that the paragraph amounted to Crunk waiving its right to pursue equitable remedies such as rescission and injunctive relief.
The judge further found that the unjust enrichment claim was at odds with other claims in the suit.
"Defendants point out that the remaining causes of action — fraud, breach of contract, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing — do not support the equitable remedy of unjust enrichment. The court agrees," Hogue ruled.
Singleton filed suit last October, claiming that he allowed Paramount to distribute "Hustle & Flow" in exchange for a modest $9 million fee, provided they finance and distribute two other films if the other films didn't cost more than $3.5 million each.
Singleton further claims that, because of the agreement, he gave Paramount the distribution rights to the 2006 Samuel L. Jackson/Christina Ricci film "Black Snake Moan.
But Singleton says that when his production company, Crunk Pictures, tried to exercise its options on the two films, Paramount gave him the runaround.
"Unfortunately, when Crunk attempted to exercise its right to 'put' the two pictures with Paramount, Paramount began asserting self-imposed, non-existent conditions on the 'puts' that prevented Singleton from making the pictures," the suit reads.
Paramount claims that it didn't make the other films because Singleton opted to make the thriller "Abduction" instead.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.