The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the defendants’ motion for summary judgment in this breach of contract action should have been granted. Plaintiff raised a new theory in opposition to the motion, after discovery had ended:
Plaintiff Frank Darabont, represented by his agent, plaintiff Creative Arts Associates, entered into an agreement to develop and run the television series The Walking Dead in exchange for fixed payments for each episode of the series, as well as backend compensation contingent upon the show’s profitability, as calculated based on “Modified Adjusted Gross Receipts” (MAGR), with defendant AMC Network Entertainment LLC producing the series and exhibiting it on its own cable channel.
Plaintiffs’ claim that AMC breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by crafting the formula for MAGR arbitrarily, irrationally, or in bad faith was improperly asserted for the first time in opposition to defendants’ motion for summary judgment … . … [T]here are no allegations in the complaint that AMC engaged in misconduct by formulating the MAGR definition in such a manner as to deprive plaintiffs of contractual benefits. … [I]t would be prejudicial to require AMC to defend against a theory of liability asserted only after discovery had concluded. Darabont v AMC Network Entertainment LLC, 2021 NY Slip Op 02240, First Dept 4-13-21