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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Producer Comes Out on Top in Director Spat

(CN) - A filmmaker who refused to deliver the finished movie to his producer must hand over the film and $1 million, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled.

David Richards provided the money, equipment and location for "The Hayfield," a film written and directed by Randy Starkey.

After forming a corporation called Minor Miracle Productions, the pair drafted an operating agreement that said they would split the profits evenly after Richards had recouped his production costs.

Starkey, who never signed the contract, then refused to give Richards the finished movie and some pieces of equipment when the relationship soured.

Richards sued Starkey for breach of contract and conversion.

A judge in Bannock County, Idaho, ruled in Richards' favor, ordering Starkey to pay more than $1 million, turn over the film and copyrights to the movie and its website.

The Idaho Supreme Court refused to entertain 21 of Starkey's 22 points on appeal.

Though it considered his argument that the trial court improperly applied federal copyright law, it ruled in Richards' favor.

"There is no indication that any issues related to copyright law that may arise in this case satisfy any of the tests federal courts have used in determining whether they have jurisdiction under [federal law]," Justice Joel Horton wrote for a five-member panel.

According to the trailer , "The Hayfield" is based on the true story of an 1867 battle between a group of Montana settlers and larger group of Native American warriors.

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