Scorsese Daughter Can 'Walk Off' Film Suit
(CN) - A federal judge tossed claims that Martin Scorsese's daughter agreed to coproduce a film but then convinced her father, Ray Liotta, and Jesse McCartney not to promote it.
The dispute stems from a contract in which Catherine Scorsese allegedly agreed to coproduce a 2012 film titled "Campus Life" for a share of the profits and a $5,000 flat fee.
Campus Life Productions and JumpView Entertainment LLC ultimately sued Scorsese in Pennsylvania's Eastern District, alleging that she never followed through on her promises.
Though Scorsese offered the plaintiffs free studio space and equipment, she later backed down on those commitments, according to the complaint.
Scorsese also allegedly told Campus Life and JumpView that several people would work for free, but eventually demanded that they be compensated for their services.
The companies claim that at one point, Scorsese had several of those employees withhold promotional photos and behind-the-scenes footage until they were paid.
Plus, Scorsese threatened several employees and often disagreed with the other directors and producers on cinematography and casting choices, the complaint states.
Scorsese allegedly coerced the cast and crew to "walk off the production" and "began to rally crew members against Campus Life and JumpView, disturbing the production."
The complaint further alleges that Scorsese insisted that she was entitled to 25 percent of JumpView, though her contract stated that she would receive profits from Campus Life alone.
When the plaintiffs refused to split the company, Scorsese allegedly told the cast and crew that they would not be paid, causing further delays.
Scorsese even convinced Ray Liotta, Jesse McCartney, and her father, Martin Scorsese, not to promote the film, according to the complaint.
She also allegedly told film industry members that JumpView's directors had assaulted her and breached their contract.
Scorsese moved to dismiss or transfer the companies' claims under the First Filed Rule.
U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II partially granted the motion Feb. 27, tossing aside the plaintiffs' claim that "everything" related to them is in Pennsylvania.
"These allegations certainly go to show plaintiffs' ties to the forum state, but are not probative of whether defendant reached out or purposefully availed herself of this forum," Jones wrote (emphasis in original). "Nothing indicates that defendant was aware that plaintiffs were Pennsylvania corporations or that they were located in Pennsylvania. The record indicates that filming was done in New Jersey, and defendant has stated in a sworn affidavit that she has not been to Pennsylvania in over seven years."
He added: "the contract contains no language which would place defendant on notice that she was dealing with a Pennsylvania corporation. It contains no mention of the corporation's geographic location, nor does it have a forum selection or choice of law clause. Moreover, there are no allegations or evidence that negotiations took place in Pennsylvania or that the parties discussed that JumpView or Campus Life were Pennsylvania corporations with headquarters in Pennsylvania.
"Furthermore, while the complaint indicates that plaintiffs conducted phone calls with defendant while plaintiffs were physically in Pennsylvania, the record is unclear as to the specifics of these calls, i.e. whether defendant initiated them and whether she knew or should have known that she was calling a Pennsylvania number," Jones wrote. "Finally, the complaint and plaintiffs' subsequent filings on this matter are devoid of any information indicating that defendant Scorsese approached plaintiffs' about this agreement; instead, it appears that plaintiffs reached out to defendant and asked for her assistance in producing the film."
The court refused to transfer the matter, however, having dismissed it on personal jurisdiction grounds.
The $350,000 film, released last February, stars Jesse McCartney and was directed by Kenneth Waddell, according to IMDB.