Grudge Against the Wrong Guy, Paramount Told

     CHICAGO (CN) – A movie theater owner claims in court that he paid Paramount Pictures $42,000 to settle an employee’s debt, but Paramount still refused to supply him with films such as “Ironman” and “Transformers,” costing his theater more than $469,000 in revenue.
     Jacob Sigler and Eastpointe 10 Movies sued Paramount Pictures Corp. in Cook County Court.
     Paramount sued Ronald Rooding in the same court in 2009 and obtained a judgment of $17,415, Sigler says in his complaint. Sigler then hired Rooding “initially as a consultant in 2009 to assist in the opening of the Eastpointe 10’s new movie theater in Maryland and he later became the office manager,” according to the complaint.
     Sigler claims he had no knowledge of Paramount’s dispute with Rooding until 2010, when Paramount found out about his employment at Eastpointe.
     The complaint states: “That upon learning of Ronald Rooding’s involvement with the Eastpointe 10, Paramount then refused to provide the movie ‘Ironman’ or any further films to the Eastpointe 10 or the Rivertowne 10 theater as long as Mr. Rooding was involved.
     “That there are four major film suppliers in the United States and Paramount is one of them and their movies are essential to the success of any movie theater.
     “That in order to insure that Paramount would supply ‘Ironman’ and future movies Mr. Sigler on or about May 2, 2010, offered to pay the $17,414.37 owed by Ronald Rooding in exchange for Paramount continuing to supply movies to the Eastpointe 10.
     “That on or about May 5, 2010, Paramount counter-offered that it would accept $42,141.13, which Paramount stated included attorney’s fees it had incurred in prosecuting the lawsuit against Mr. Rooding.
     “That plaintiff Jacob Sigler, desperate to insure that ‘Ironman’ and a stream of new Paramount movies would play at the Eastpointe theatre, accepted the agreement.”
     Sigler says he forked over a $20,000 security deposit and paid Paramount $5,000 a month until the debt was settled, on 1, May 2011.
     He acknowledges “That some of the monthly payments under the agreement were paid late [but] Paramount never terminated the agreement but continued to accept payments.”
     However, Sigler says, “immediately upon receiving the last payment from Jacob Sigler, Paramount Pictures breached its agreement with [plaintiffs] by ceasing to provide the film ‘Thor’ and has failed to provide any films since that date. …
     “(A)s a pretext, defendant Paramount Pictures claimed that ‘we have information about substantial and deliberate underreporting at the Eastpointe 10. … Paramount will not license Thor or other future products. …'” (Ellipses in complaint.)
     But Sigler says, “That in fact, defendant Paramount did not have such information and did not begin an audit until August of 2011, which to date has not found provided any evidence of underreporting of revenues.
     Sigler claims he has lost $469,000 in anticipated revenue because he has been denied permission to show movies such as “Kung Fu Panda,” “Transformers,” “Captain America,” and “Mission Impossible.”
     He seeks $469,000 for breach of contract and specific performance.
     He is represented by Jeffrey Strange.

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