A Hollywood management and production company is suing a screenwriter for such television shows as “Empire” and the upcoming Hulu series “Dopesick,” alleging he owes the company commissions despite firing them earlier this month.
The Gotham Group LLC’s Santa Monica Superior Court lawsuit filed Monday against Daniel Strong asks for a judge to find that the parties’ contract is still enforceable and that the plaintiff is entitled to receive commissions.
A representative for the 47-year-old Strong could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Gotham Group and Strong had a verbal agreement under which the company advised and assisted the producer in his screenwriting and directorial career in exchange for a 10% commission of all that Strong was paid for projects he undertook, other than for his acting services, once Gotham Group began to serve as his literary manager, the suit states.
The Gotham Group managed Strong’s career as he entered into increasingly more lucrative production and/or development agreements with entertainment companies such as HBO and Disney, the latter of which recently became his most lucrative contract when he received a three-year extension in July, according to the suit.
“For nearly two decades, the parties enjoyed great success working together,” according to the suit. “Danny’s literary career kept reaching new heights under Gotham Group’s assistance and advisement, and in return, he honored his obligations and paid Gotham Group the commissions it was entitled to. Unfortunately, the story would not have a Hollywood ending.”
Soon after he received his Disney extension, and despite his success achieved by working with the Gotham Group, Strong expressed concerns over his personal finances, stated that he was not pleased with paying a 10% commission and said the amount should be less, the suit states.
On Sept. 13, Strong fired Gotham Group “in the misguided belief that by doing so, he would not have to pay Gotham Group its commissions for his new television deal,” the suit states.
Strong’s position that his firing of the Gotham Group relieves his future obligation to pay commissions “flies in the face of standard, and widely accepted, industry practice that when a client terminates their relationship with their manager, they still owe commissions for monies received on projects either entered into or for which substantial negotiations had taken place,” the suit states.