‘Good Shepherd’ Backer to Pony Up on Distribution

     (CN) – Morgan Creek Productions must pay part of a $5.7 million judgment relating to overseas distribution of the 2006 Matt Damon film “The Good Shepherd,” a federal judge ruled.
     Toho-Towa Inc. acquired the Japanese distribution to the film in 2005 after negotiations with two Morgan Creek affiliates, one based in Bermuda and the other in the Netherlands.
     That agreement compelled the Netherlands affiliate to pay Toho-Towa $4.5 million for expenses it had advanced to distribute the film.
     When Toho-Towa’s invoice was never paid, the Japanese company took the matter to arbitration successfully. After interest and attorneys’ fees, Morgan Creek’s affiliates owed a $5.7 million judgment.
     The credits didn’t roll there, however, as neither Morgan Creeks affiliate stepped up to satisfy the judgment. Toho-Towa asked a Los Angeles judge to let it hold the parent company liable.
     The trial court agreed, citing the fact that all three Morgan Creek entities are owned by James Robinson, who was the only person with the authority to resolve the dispute for the American film company.
     A three-judge panel of the Second District Court of Appeals affirmed Thursday.
     The evidence “supports the trial court’s conclusion that the Morgan Creek entities, though formed as separate corporations, were operated with integrated resources in pursuit of a single business purpose, and that MCP so dominated the finances, policies and practices of [the other entities] that the latter had no separate ‘mind, will or existence’ of their own, but were merely conduits through which MCP conducted its business,” according to the decision written by Justice Vincent O’Neill, sitting on the panel by designation from Ventura County Superior Court.
     A look at the early days of the CIA, “The Good Shepherd” also starred Angelina Jolie and Alec Baldwin. Robert De Niro directed the film, which picked up one Oscar nomination.

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