Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Monday, December 11, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Akin, Gump Says Movie Producer Owes It

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The Akin, Gump law firm claims the executive producer of the Kevin Spacey comedy "The Father of Invention" owes it millions of dollars.

Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld sued Mark Manuel in Superior Court, alleging breach of contract and promissory fraud.

The law firm claims Manuel refused to pay a finder's fee after it introduced him to senior studio executives. Manuel went on to arrange multimillion-dollar loans with Sony and Warner Brothers, according to the complaint.

"In early 2008, Manuel sought to arrange $100 million plus loans to major film and television studios pursuant to a complex federal statutory regime by which foreign immigrants seeking EB-5 resident visas in the United States fund job-creating loans," the complaint states.

"However, Manuel lacked the necessary connections with senior finance executives at the film and television studios to arrange such loans. Manuel was rightfully concerned that without proper introductions from someone the senior executives at the studios knew, trusted, and respected, he would be unsuccessful.

"Manuel needed Akin Gump partner John Burke for that purpose. Manuel knew of Burke's strong relationships with the studios. In or about April 2008, Manuel induced Akin Gump partner Burke to introduce him to senior financial executives at major film and television studios so that he would have an opportunity to arrange the loans by promising to pay Akin Gump a finder's fee of 25 basis points (one-quarter of a percent) of the gross amount of any loan where Akin Gump made the introduction, with that fee to be paid annually for each year the loan is outstanding, and for all future loans with the same parties ('Finder's Fee Agreement'). Burke accepted Manuel's offer."

Akin Gump says that after Manuel confirmed the agreement in writing, Burke introduced him to executives at Sony and Warner Brothers.

"Following Burke's introductions, Akin is informed and believes that Manuel arranged one or more loans with Warner Brothers for a total of $150 million, each for five-year terms, and also arranged a loan with Sony for $100 million, for a five-year term, with that loan subject to approval from federal authorities. Akin Gump is informed and believes that the Warner Brothers loan(s) have closed and that the Sony loan is expected to close in the near future.

"In 2009, Manuel induced Akin Gump partner John Burke to find a distributor for a film called 'Father of Invention' by orally promising to pay Akin Gump a finder's fee of 50 percent of Manuel's compensation of $300,000 (less out of pocket expenses of approximately $10,000), or a total finder's fee of $145,000. Akin Gump agreed to do so and fully performed in reliance on Manuel's promise by finding a distributor for the film ('Father of Invention Agreement').

"However, after Manuel got what he bargained for and what he induced Akin Gump to do, he refused to pay Akin Gump the amounts he promised to pay under either agreement. Manuel used Akin Gump partner Burke from early 2008 until October 2010 before telling Burke he would not pay," the complaint states.

Akin Gump seeks more than $2 million in damages.

It is represented by Alan Jay Weil with Gaims, Weil, West & Epstein.

Neither the law firm nor Manuel immediately responded to requests for comment.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.