Lee Daniels' Companies Sued For Failure To Pay Performers' Residuals

Entertainment | 12/09/2015 | 11:45 AM EST

Performers union SAG-AFTRA is suing over unpaid residuals from Daniels' 2005 film 'Shadowboxer'

The legal troubles continue with Lee Daniels.

The “Empire” co-creator’s companies are being sued by the performers union SAG-AFTRA for allegedly failing to pay more than $335,000 in residuals to performers who worked on his 2005 film Shadowboxer. The complaint, filed Tuesday in a Los Angeles federal court, named Shadowboxer LLC and Lee Daniels Entertainment as defendants.


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From Variety:

“The action alleged that Daniels’ companies had made ‘Shadowboxer,’ a crime thriller starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Helen Mirren, Stephen Dorff and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, pursuant to the terms of the SAG collective bargaining agreement for independent producers but failed to make payments or send the required reports about the distribution of the movie.

The action also asserted that a 2011 arbitration decision awarded the union more than $335,000 including $169,630 in residuals, $25,323 in pension and health contributions and $93,544 in late payment liquidated damages. The lawsuit is seeking enforcement of the 2011 arbitration decision.

More than five hours after the reports of the legal action appeared, SAG-AFTRA said in a statement late Tuesday night that the arbitration award had been obtained after several years of trying to resolve a claim related to unpaid residuals on ‘Shadowboxer.’

‘California law provides for a four year statute of limitations for the confirmation of arbitration awards,’ the union said.  ‘As attempts to enforce the arbitration award were unsuccessful, the union filed this action to reserve all rights to obtain payment.  Residuals payments are crucial income for many of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000+ members and the union vigorously enforces residuals payments for members.’”

In a statement, SAF-AFTRA made it clear that the union is not going after Daniels as an individual, but instead his corporate entities.

(Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Screen Actors Guild Foundation)

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