Hollywood stunt coordinator wins a round in conservatorship battle
Former Hollywood stunt coordinator Nigel Hudson, who has long battled his now ex-conservator, the producer Lucas Foster, received a favorable court ruling in his ongoing fight over how funds from his conservatorship were spent.
Probate judge Brenda Penny recently set aside Foster’s court-approved final accounting — clearing a path to review the controversial conservatorship and for Hudson to pursue his claims that Foster misappropriated funds.
Last year, Hudson filed a motion to vacate the order approving the conservator’s final account. Hudson alleges that Foster, his former conservator, took advantage of his position and stole money from the conservatorship, writing checks to himself and his various film companies as “reimbursement” for expenses that he didn’t pay.
A former Hollywood fight trainer has sued a movie producer, alleging that his former friend stole money intended for his medical care. The case has raised more questions about California’s conservatorship system.
Hudson claims that he only discovered the alleged fraud four years after the conservatorship ended in 2014, long after a Los Angeles probate judge and the court-appointed guardian ad litem had signed off on Foster’s final accounting.
“We’re going to have a forensic accountant go through the records to determine how much evidence to present to the judge and to have Foster explain in more detail what he did with money,” said Hudson’s attorney Martin Horwitz.
Horwitz believes the amount of money misappropriated is “at a minimum $500,000, probably more.”
Foster and his representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, in court documents Foster said that the suit was “brought in bad faith” and that both Hudson and his guardian ad litem had signed off on the accounting. He alleged he had “advanced hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase goods and services for Hudson’s benefit.”
Foster denied that he had defrauded his former friend, saying that Hudson knew that he expended funds through his various companies and “approved this plan.”
In 2007, Hudson, who trained actors and rock stars, and had choreographed fight sequences for films like “Mr. & Mrs. Smith, was rear-ended at a traffic stop on Sunset Boulevard.
British-born Hudson, then 38, suffered a traumatic brain injury, a broken neck and numerous other physical injuries requiring multiple surgeries and medical treatments.
After years of litigation over the accident, in 2011 he was awarded a $13,863,000 settlement. More than half of the money went to pay Hudson’s attorneys and his initial medical and other expenses. The remainder left him with a substantial financial cushion for his livelihood and future medical costs.
The following year Hudson agreed to have his longtime friend, Lucas Foster, appointed general conservator over his estate. The legal arrangement gave Foster, a movie producer with a lengthy résumé of credits, including the films “Ford v Ferrari” and “Bad Boys,” broad control over Hudson’s finances.
However, when the conservatorship ended in 2014, their financial entanglement continued, leading to a bitter rift and legal recrimination.
Between January 2016 and February 2017, Hudson said that he loaned Foster $400,000, according to court documents, becoming increasingly frustrated when Foster did not repay the money.
As Hudson sought repayment of the loan, he said he discovered that Foster had misrepresented the payment of one of his medical bills two years after his conservatorship had ended. He learned of the discrepancy when his accountant, who was preparing back tax returns for 2013, asked for his medical expenses, according to Hudson’s attorney, Martin Horwitz.
One expense involved a $60,000 bill from UCLA that Hudson believed Foster had paid on his behalf. However, when he requested proof of payment for his tax returns, he found that, unbeknownst to him, Foster had negotiated the bill down to $54,704.64 and kept the nearly $5,500 difference for himself, according to court documents.
On April 26, 2017, Hudson filed a civil suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Foster and his various companies, including Warp Films, seeking to repay the borrowed money and to recover the difference in the amount paid to UCLA.
Foster denied Hudson’s allegations.
After a bench trial in November 2019, the judge found for Hudson on three counts, including breach of oral contract and theft, but did not rule in his favor on two counts involving breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. The parties negotiated a $700,000 settlement to be paid to Hudson.
Hudson claimed that he discovered other discrepancies over bills that he believed Foster paid on his behalf as his conservator. When his lawyer subpoenaed the conservatorship’s bank documents, including check images, they compared the canceled checks against Foster’s entries in the schedule of payments submitted to the court, alleging that 28 checks totaling $558,169.47 that were listed as as being paid to third parties, were paid out to Foster or one of his companies.
With the legal ruling, Hudson will now have the opportunity to seek a full review.
“It’s been a long haul since Nigel’s accident until now,” Horwitz said.
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