In an outstanding victory for KHIKS client MRC, an arbitrator ruled that Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay the studio nearly $31 million in damages and attorneys’ fees for breach of contract in connection with certain conduct involving several crew members on the set of Netflix’s “House of Cards.” MRC was represented in this matter by KHIKS partners Michael Kump and Gregory Korn. The arbitration ruling entered in MRC’s favor and against Spacey, originally issued in October 2020, and affirmed by an arbitration appeal panel in November 2021, became public recently as MRC seeks to confirm the award in Los Angeles Superior Court.
When CNN published an article in November 2017 with allegations of sexual harassment and assault from anonymous “House of Cards” crew members, MRC launched an investigation that concluded that Spacey breached his contractual obligations to provide his services “in a professional manner” and “consistent with [MRC’s] reasonable directions, practices, and policies.” MRC terminated Spacey’s contractual agreements and ceased payment for his acting and producing roles. The sudden removal of Spacey’s “House of Cards” character in the midst of production led to substantial monetary losses for MRC. In January 2019, MRC filed its arbitration demand against Spacey seeking to recover its damages. Spacey denied MRC’s claims and filed cross-claims against MRC for breach of contract for terminating his agreements and ceasing his payments. After lengthy discovery and an 8-day evidentiary hearing, the arbitrator ruled in MRC’s favor, finding that Spacey’s behavior had caused the studio to lose millions of dollars.
“It was a privilege representing MRC in this matter,” stated Michael Kump of the successful outcome. “MRC stood its ground, pursued this case doggedly, and obtained the right result in the end.”
To view KHIKS’s petition to confirm MRC’s arbitration award in Los Angeles Superior Court, click “Download PDF.” Select coverage of the case and arbitration ruling can be found below.