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SAG-AFTRA Files Motion to Dismiss Ed Asner Suit Over Foreign Royalties

The suit claimed the union has withheld more than $110 million in movie and TV residuals and royalties.

SAG-AFTRA on Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Ed Asner and others that claims the union has wrongfully withheld more than $110 million in undistributed movie and TV residuals and royalties. 

The motion, filed in U.S. District Court, Central Division, means that a hearing will be held on Oct. 7 to address the motions to dismiss. The union says the suit, filed in May, should be thrown out, claiming that the retreads the same ground that was dealt with in an earlier class action filing, its allegations of fraud are not sufficiently supported, parts of the case are beyond the statute of limitations and  the law does not provide for the monetary and injunctive relief that it seeks.

Also read: SAG Settles Foreign Royalties Suit

Asner is the former SAG president (1981-1985) and was a high-profile opponent of the SAG-AFTRA merger, which was approved last year.

The original suit, filed in May, also claims that the merged union has deliberately withheld information and kept the money in trust and spent portions on first class travel and lavish parties and big salaries for current union officials.

Attorneys for the union even used a TV metaphor in their bid to dismiss.

“While it is generally a good thing when a theatrical or TV production is rerun – indeed such reruns generate the very income that is the subject of this lawsuit – the opposite is true in litigation.”

They cited a 2007 class action suit filed by Ken Osmond that also sought foreign levy funds, which was settled, and called it a “virtual restatement”  of that litigation.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report