Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press
Posted on Thursday August 4, 2022 8:37 pm EDT
Last updated on Thursday, August 4, 2022 8:37 pm EDT
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A judge ruled Thursday that Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay the creators of “House of Cards” nearly $31 million after he was fired in 2017 for sexually molesting crew members.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana’s ruling establishes res judicata the $30.9 award in favor of MRC and other companies that produced the Netflix series, which was ruled by a private arbitrator, who heard the case against Spacey.
Recana wrote that Spacey and his attorneys “cannot show that this is even a close case” and “cannot show that the damages award was so utterly irrational as to amount to an arbitrary rearrangement of the parties’ contracts.”
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling,” MRC attorney Michael Kump said in an email to The Associated Press.
Spacey has denied the allegations by his attorneys and spokesman, who did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
The referee found that Spacey violated his contract’s professional conduct requirements by “committing certain conduct in connection with several crew members in each of the five seasons in which he starred and produced House of Cards.” , according to a file from Kump requesting permission.
As a result, MRC had to fire Spacey, halt production of the show’s sixth season, rewrite it to remove Spacey’s main character, and cut it from 13 episodes to eight to meet deadlines, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in losses, according to court documents.
Spacey’s attorneys argued in their own filings that the decision to ban him from the show’s sixth season was made prior to the internal investigation, which prompted crew members to come forward, and therefore was not part of a breach of contract. They argued that the actor’s actions were not a significant factor in the show’s losses.
The private arbitrator’s ruling came after more than three years of litigation and an eight-day evidentiary hearing, which, along with the rest of the dispute, was kept secret from the public until a panel of three other private arbitrators dismissed Spacey’s appeal and upheld the decision in November .
The 63-year-old Oscar winner’s career came to an abrupt end in late 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum and allegations were leveled at him from multiple sources.
Spacey has been fired or removed from projects, most notably House of Cards, the Netflix political thriller in which he played lead character Frank Underwood, a power-hungry congressman turned president, for five seasons.
Last month in London, Spacey pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting three men a decade or more ago when he was director of the Old Vic Theater there. His attorney said he “vehemently” denies the allegations. He is due to be tried next year.
Another criminal case against him, an indecent assault and battery charge related to an 18-year-old man’s alleged groping at a Nantucket resort, was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019.
Spacey is also facing lawsuits from other men, including actor Anthony Rapp.