A selected summary of Southern California-related business litigation developments during the past week.
Swiss Film Distributor Sues TWE: Highlight Communications, a Swiss company, sued Trans World Entertainment of Los Angeles, alleging that it breached a contract to give Highlight the option to distribute the next Jean-Claude Van Damme film. The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit said Highlight had a contract with Nova International Films, a TWE subsidiary, to distribute the German-language version of “The Red Fox,” starring Van Damme. But the film was not made and Nova agreed to return an $80,000 down payment Highlight made and promised to give it an option to distribute the next Van Damme film in a cut-rate deal, the suit said. TWE intentionally breached the contract, the suit claimed, by licensing the upcoming Van Damme film “Double Impact” to another subsidiary, Vision International, which sold distribution rights to a German company without giving Highlight the option. The suit, which also alleges fraud, seeks $2,080,000 in compensatory damages, $2 million in punitive damages and injunctions barring distribution of the film until Highlight gets its option. TWE declined comment. (Civil Case No. BC021721. Filed Feb. 19)