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Weinstein Co. sued over scrapped Amazon project with David O. Russell

The Weinstein Co. is facing more legal trouble with two producers filing a new lawsuit against the company over an Amazon project with filmmaker David O. Russell that was scrapped after the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein became public.

Producers Scott Lambert and Alexandra Milchan are seeking at least $2 million from Weinstein Co. in their suit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, saying the company knew about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct and concealed it from them.

“This misconduct… was effectively a ticking time bomb,” the suit said.

The husband-and-wife producing team said in their complaint that they spent years developing the television project that was to be directed by Russell, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker of “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle.”

Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore had been cast in the production, which was supposed to shoot in the New York area.

Lambert and Milchan allege that Weinstein Co. agreed to purchase the intellectual property they developed for the untitled project and would hire them as producers and compensate them on a pay-or-play basis.

Amazon withdrew from the project on Oct. 13 in the wake of the Weinstein sex scandal and the project collapsed. The producers argue in their suit that Weinstein Co. has withheld the compensation it owes them under their deal.

Weinstein Co. didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The producers’ compensation includes per-episode fees as well as a development fee, according to the suit. The complaint alleges the producers also negotiated a percentage of profits with Russell that amounted to 1.5% of the project’s modified adjusted gross receipts — essentially, the profit pool for the project.

Lambert and Milchan allege that Weinstein Co. has failed to compensate them for their work and work-related travel following the collapse of the project.

They also allege that Weinstein Co. was negligent by allowing Harvey Weinstein to continue in his role as co-chairman of the company when its leaders had “numerous signs” that a scandal was brewing. They also contend that the company committed fraud by concealing his behavior from them.

Weinstein Co. is facing mounting civil suits related to its former co-founder’s sex scandal. The company was hit with a class-action lawsuit Nov. 15 on behalf of dozens of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, battery and lewd conduct.

Actress Dominique Huett, who has accused him of sexually abusing her in 2010 in Beverly Hills, sued his company for negligence in October.

david.ng@latimes.com

@DavidNgLAT

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