This lawsuit definitely goes to 11.
“This Is Spinal Tap” star Harry Shearer has filed a lawsuit against French company Vivendi over accounting practices and revenues for the classic 1984 mockumentary, and the damages he’s seeking definitely aren’t in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.
Shearer’s lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in California, seeks “not less than $125 million in compensatory and punitive damages.”
Shearer, a co-creator of the film who played bassist Derek Smalls in it, claims that Vivendi, which eventually ended up with rights relating to the film, has engaged in “anti-competitive and unfair business practices,” and “willfully concealed and manipulated years of accountings to retain monies due and owing to plaintiff.”
The suit claims that, “according to Vivendi, the four creators’ share of total worldwide merchandising income between 1984 and 2006 was $81. Between 1989 and 2006 total income from music sales was $98. Over the past two years, Vivendi has failed to provide accounting statements at all.”
Among the financial chicanery, according to the suit: Failure to provide accounting statements; improper business expenses; failure to account for a $1.6 million settlement received from MGM Home Video over underreported home sales revenues; undocumented marketing and promotion expenses “allegedly incurred years after the release totaling over $2.5 million”; and failure to collect merchandising revenues.
The suit also accuses Vivendi of abandoning trademarks relating to the film.
Vivendi had no comment for TheWrap on the lawsuit.
Alleging breach of contract, fraud and other counts, Shearer wants Vivendi to turn over the books and to “satisfactorily and accurately account” for the revenues and expenses for “Spinal Tap.” He also wants a declaration stating that his use of the Spinal Tap and Derek Smalls trademarks doesn’t infringe on the trademark rights allegedly abandoned by Vivendi.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.