A former executive for Relativity Media sued his onetime employer Wednesday, alleging the founder of the feature film studio misrepresented the financial outlook for the company and created a hostile work environment.
Adam Fields’ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against Ryan Kavanaugh alleges fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation. He’s seeking unspecified damages.
A representative for Kavanaugh could not be immediately reached.
According to the lawsuit, Kavanaugh convinced Fields in October 2015 to take the position of co-president of feature film production and distribution, saying he needed the plaintiff’s expertise and deal-making ability in the company’s post-bankruptcy era to avoid repeating earlier mistakes that had resulted in financial problems.
The four-year compensation package was worth $10 million, the suit states.
“To induce Fields to accept the position, Kavanaugh assured him that Relativity would be and was sufficiently capitalized following its reorganization to develop, produce, market and distribute films,” the suit says.
In reality, Relativity remained “massively in debt” after the reorganization and had no real prospects for developing and producing a meaningful slate of movies, the plaintiff alleges.
Relativity is again on the verge of bankruptcy and Kavanaugh, along with an investor in the company, “have resigned their positions … to distance themselves from the sinking ship,” the suit states.
The suit further alleges that after Dana Brunetti, a longtime producing partner of actor Kevin Spacey, was hired as Relativity’s president, Fields “became disposable in Kavanaugh’s mind.” The plaintiff claims Kavanaugh and other company executives began planning reasons to fire him while creating a hostile work environment in the hope he would quit.
Relativity fired Fields in September, claiming that he leaked information to an entertainment reporter while they were on an elevator, the suit states.
“The charge is not only false, but also ironic and incredibly disingenuous given Kavanaugh’s history of obsessively planting stories in the press to further his agendas and vendettas …” according to the lawsuit.
Fields has been involved in producing such films as “16 Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Great Balls of Fire” and “Donnie Darko,” according to his court papers.
–City News Service