News  /  August 5, 2022  /  

Judge Confirms Arbitration Award of $31M to KHIKS Client MRC in Kevin Spacey “House of Cards” Dispute

From 2017 to the present, KHIKS attorneys Michael Kump and Gregory Korn have represented MRC, the award-winning company that created and produced the hit series “House of Cards” on Netflix, in connection with allegations that Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey breached his contracts and caused MRC to suffer damages by engaging in wrongful conduct with respect to the cast and crew. On August 4, 2022, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana granted MRC’s motion to confirm the JAMS arbitration award entered in favor of MRC and against Spacey for almost $31 million in damages, fees and costs. Copies of the Court’s Minute Order and written ruling are attached to this article.

In 2017, a CNN article accused Spacey of engaging in “predatory” conduct on the set of “House of Cards,” and MRC represented by KHIKS launched an investigation that showed Spacey had breached his contractual obligations to provide his services “in a professional manner.” MRC then terminated Spacey’s contractual agreements, ceased payment, and in a JAMS arbitration filed by KHIKS, MRC sought damages for loss of revenue resulting from the sudden departure of Spacey’s character on the show. In response, Spacey filed cross-claims, alleging that MRC breached its contract by terminating Spacey’s contractual agreements and ceasing his payment.

In 2019, after 20 depositions and 8 days of hearings conducted by Kump and Korn, the JAMS arbitrator ruled in favor of MRC and awarded damages, fees and costs of approximately $31 million in favor of MRC and against Spacey. Spacey then appealed the award to the JAMS appeal panel, and three former judges affirmed the arbitration award in all respects. Thereafter, MRC, represented by KHIKS, filed a petition to confirm the arbitration award in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

In Judge Recana’s written ruling granting MRC’s motion to confirm the arbitration award, the Judge found that: “The Arbitrator’s Final Award shows that the damages awarded were rationally related to [Spacey’s] breach, as the award was aimed at compensating for or alleviating the effects of the breach. The Arbitrator found that the breach was Spacey’s violation of the Harassment Policy under the agreements, which excused [MRC’s] performance and caused the shortened final season of House of Cards.” (Ruling, p. 11.) Judge Recana further found that: “Here, [Spacey] fail[s] to demonstrate that this is even a close case.” (Id., p. 12.)

More information on this case can be found below. To view copies of the Court’s Minute Order and written ruling, click “Download PDF.”

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