*Performers union SAG-AFTRA has sued Lee Daniels’ companies for allegedly failing to pay $335,000 in residuals, along with other payments, related to his 2005 film “Shadowboxer.”
The union filed a complaint Tuesday in federal court in Los Angeles against Shadowboxer LLC and Lee Daniels Entertainment, according to Variety. The action alleged that Daniels’ companies had made “Shadowboxer,” a crime thriller starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Helen Mirren, Stephen Dorff and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, pursuant to the terms of the SAG collective bargaining agreement for independent producers but failed to make payments or send the required reports about the distribution of the movie.
The action claimed that a 2011 arbitration decision awarded the union more than $335,000 including $169,630 in residuals, $25,323 in pension and health contributions and $93,544 in late payment liquidated damages. The lawsuit is seeking enforcement of the 2011 arbitration decision.
SAG-AFTRA said in a statement late Tuesday that the arbitration award had been obtained after several years of trying to resolve a claim related to unpaid residuals on “Shadowboxer.”
“California law provides for a four year statute of limitations for the confirmation of arbitration awards,” the union said. “As attempts to enforce the arbitration award were unsuccessful, the union filed this action to reserve all rights to obtain payment. Residuals payments are crucial income for many of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000+ members and the union vigorously enforces residuals payments for members.”
The statement also noted that the union had not taken any action against Daniels as an individual: “SAG-AFTRA respects Mr. Daniels as a producer and director and has not taken any legal action against him individually. This dispute is with the corporate entities responsible for residuals payments on the film.”
Daniels directed and was a producer on “Shadowboxer,” which grossed around $500,000 at the box office. He went on to direct “Precious,” “The Paperboy” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” He is the co-creator and executive producer of TV’s “Empire” and upcoming spinoff “The Untitled Lee Daniels Project,” previously called “Star.”