A judge ruled Thursday that Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay nearly $31 million to the makers of “House of Cards” for losses stemming from his 2017 dismissal for sexual harassment of crew members.
The ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Reed Ricana gives the force of law to a $30.9 prize in favor of MRC and the other companies that produced the Netflix series by a special arbitrator who heard the case against Spacey.
Ricana wrote that Spacey and his attorneys “fail to demonstrate that this is a converging case” and “do not demonstrate that the damages compensation was so utterly irrational that it amounted to an arbitrary reformulation of the parties’ contracts.”
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling,” Medical Research Council attorney Michael Coombe said in an email to The Associated Press.
Spacey denied the allegations through his attorney and spokesperson, who did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
The arbitrator found that Spacey violated his contract requirements for professional conduct by “engaging in certain behavior in relation to multiple crew members in each of the five seasons he starred and the production of House of Cards,” according to a report from Kump seeking approval.
As a result, MRC had to fire Spacey, halt production of the show’s sixth season, rewrite it to remove Spacey’s central character, and shorten it from 13 to eight episodes to meet deadlines, resulting in tens of millions in losses, according to court documents. .
Spacey’s attorneys argued in their files that the decision to exclude him from the show’s sixth season came before the internal investigation that pushed the crew members to come forward, and thus was not part of the breach of contract. They argued that the actor’s actions were not a material factor in the show’s losses.
The special arbitrator’s ruling came after a legal battle that lasted more than three years and an eight-day evidentiary hearing that was kept secret from the public, along with the rest of the dispute, until a panel of three special arbitrators rejected Spacey’s appeal. The decision was upheld in November.
The 63-year-old’s Oscar-winning career came to an abrupt halt in late 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum and allegations against him emerged from several places.
Spacey has been fired or removed from projects, most notably “House of Cards,” the political thriller on Netflix where for five seasons he played main character Frank Underwood, the power-hungry congressman who becomes president.
Last month ,accused of sexually assaulting three men a decade or more ago, when the director of the Old Vic Theater was there. His lawyer said he “strongly denies” the allegations. He is scheduled to face trial next year.
Danny Rogers, editor-in-chief of PRWeek UK, told CBS News in June. “He must feel the damage done to the Kevin Spacey brand after all the allegations over the past five or 10 years. So, if the damage has been done, there is still some progress to be made by fighting the new allegations.”
Another criminal case was filed against him, the indecent assault and battery charge resulting from the alleged harassment of an 18-year-old man in a Nantucket resort,by Massachusetts attorneys general in 2019.
Spacey is also facing lawsuits from other men, including the actor.