Friday, September 11, 2009

While Farrah Fawcett may win her first Emmy tomorrow night, her producing partner has already won a round in his court fight against Ryan O'Neal

Farrah Fawcett may finally win an Emmy on Saturday night, an award that's eluded her in three previous nominations in as many decades (The Burning Bed, Small Sacrifices & The Guardian). Should she win posthumously for the controversial Farrah's Story, the statuette won't be for her acting, but for her role as executive producer of the documentary she made chronicling her fight with cancer.

Meanwhile, Craig Nevius, Farrah's fellow producing nominee, is only beginning his own fight: a legal war with Ryan O'Neal over who has the right to tell Farrah's real story. Nevius and Farrah worked for almost two years on an unconventional yet inspirational "video diary" that would tell Farrah's story from her point of view. Yet, after Farrah sold the material to NBC and her health took a turn for the worse in April, she turned her affairs over to longtime lover O'Neal, who took control of the documentary, kicked Nevius to the curb and rejigged it with the help of NBC Dateline into an exploitation of a celebrity's death with a nod to his own film, Love Story.

Nevius filed a lawsuit against O'Neal, his business manager Richard Francis, and Alana Stewart, Farrah's friend who helped shoot some of the documentary footage and later held out for producing credit that has her up for an Emmy as well.

The lawsuit was in court this week. A Tabloid Baby contributor was there and sends us this unsolicited report:

"After Craig Nevius filed suit, O'Neal and Francis responded quickly and in full force by retaining the very prestigious and very powerful law firm of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp to defend them against Nevius' claims, which the world-class attorneys characterized in court papers as "meritless," "frivolous" and "ludicrous."

Attorneys Kim Swartz and Karin Pagnanelli of MSK also attempted to minimize if not completely deny Nevius' true contribution to the documentary and his position in the company that he and Farrah had formed to own and license the the documentary worldwide (Sweetened By Risk LLC).

Nevius filed a motion to disqualify Swartz, Pagnanelli and their 100-year old law firm for conflict of interest. He claims that MSK had previously represented him as a producer as well an owner and member of Sweetened By Risk LLC (with Farrah).

Swartz, Pagnanelli and MSK have denied that any such attorney-client relationship existed and produced an alternative SBR LLC Operating Agreement dated June 5, 2008 (approximately eight weeks after Farrah and Nevius signed the April 1, 2008 Operating Agreement). This "renewal" agreement appears to have been unilaterally executed by Farrah, and contains a scrawled signature that's identical to the disputed signature from the April 20th, 2009 "Delegation of Authority" (to Ryan O'Neal and his business manager Richard Francis).

MSK seemed to be painting Nevius as a disgruntled employee who was angry at Farrah (for some unspecified reason) and was sought ownership and/or control of the documentary and SBR LLC out of revenge.

At a hearing on September 1st, MSK sent in a "big gun": managing partner Thomas P. Lambert appeared in court to make arguments against the disqualification of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp over a dispute in a two person LLC with only one asset.

Across the table from Lambert and company was a single lawyer representing Nevius: Miles Feldman of Liner, Grode, Stein, Yankelevitz, Sunshine, Regenstreif & Taylor LLP.

The lone attorney was enough, as Judge Joseph S. Biderman granted Nevius' motion for the disqualification (the
"tentative ruling" has since been made official).

Judge Biderman agreed with Nevius' attorney that the case is a dispute about ownership and control of SBR and the film. Therefore there was conflict of interest for the company's attorneys (Swartz and Pagnanelli et al) who would likely be called as witnesses over the various agreements and delegations that they allegedly drew up.

As a result Judge Biderman's ruling, O'Neal and Francis must now retain new, unbiased representation or formally appeal the motion in the hopes that the ruling will be overturned.

Nevius was seen in the courtroom.

None of the defendants was present.

Both the plaintiff and the defendants, however, are expected to be at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday night for the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Farrah's Story is the favorite to win the Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Special.

As Nevius said in his recent interview with Retroality.tv's Chris Mann: "The fact that this documentary touched so many people (and received an Emmy nomination) is a real tribute to Farrah. It succeeded in reaching people in spite of everything that Ryan and Alana did to it (and tried to do to it). Because at the end of the day, Farrah was still Farrah.""


Anonymous said...

Will Farrah ever be allowed to rest in peace? Sounds like sour grapes yet Craig is willing to accept an Emmy for a show he so vocally dislikes? Maybe he wants to have his cake & eat it too, no?

Anonymous said...


I disagree with you, Anon. If the Farrah documentary is to win an Emmy, I beleive Craig should receive one as well because he was there from the 'birth' of this production. It was NOT his fault he wasn't allowed to continue.

In all honesty, I HOPE this documentary DOES NOT win the Emmy! The outcome of the documentary was NOT what Farrah had in mind when she started it. Therefore, giving this DOCKED version an Emmy is like giving credit to the 'theives' who stole this production under Farrah, and Craig, and giving them credit to all the BULLSHIT!

This documentary was NOTHING but an extended version of Chasing Farrah. It came out looking like a played Reality Show! There was NOTHING informative in it, and there were a lot of questions left unanswered! There was a lot of footage which had nothing to do with the subject matter of the documentary!

It did NOT state how Farrah got the cancer. What could of caused it, what were the symptoms, how did she find out about it etc. etc. etc. As a matter of fact, this documentary didn't focus on the 'anal' cancer. It mainly focused on the liver tumors. It didn't even state as to WHY Farrah chose the alternative treatment instead of the operation. All was said about it was that the US doctors only said they can do nothing more for her. There was an important part of this documentary left out. Probably on purpose. I'm sure if the surgery was the ONLY way to save her life, Farrah would of chosen it. However, lately there has been discussions as to why she went ahead to alternative treatment instead of the operation, and it was NOT shown in the documentary.

Another thing ... Farrah DID NOT see this 'edited' version on TV as Ryan is claiming she did. It did not make sense that she would see it, yet things said and shown were HIDDEN from her, according to Ryan!

In any event. If this documentary was to win an Emmy, then YES, Craig should be given one, for he is the ONLY one out of the nominees who DESERVES it! Besides Farrah, that it! And I'm sure Craig will kick some serious ass in the courts! We are rooting for ya, Craig! Make Farrah proud!!!!


Anonymous said...

She could RIP if her 'lover' had not engaged in tortious interference in 'A Wing and a Prayer.'

The only thing that will be kicking ass in the courts is the rule of law, unless you get an O.J. jury.

Anonymous said...

This case is anything but "meritless," "frivolous" and "ludicrous."

The arguments smearing Craig by the defendant's attorneys are just pathetic and they're not going to fool the judge.

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Anonymous said...

Why and Who mentioned Greg Lott. He has absolutely nothing to do with this article, emmy nomination, or of Craig's lawsuit. Why do you people keep bringing this guy up! This article is about the Documentary, Craig, "A Wing and A Prayer", and Farrah Fawcett. Screw Greg Lott!

Anonymous said...

Michael from Europe is a FREAK! The man knows nothing about what he speaks, acts like he knows how Farrah thought and is so full of his own B.S. it's obvious. Go back to cutting out pictures to tape to your wall and buying crap on ebay. It's people like YOU that are so off base but think because they have obsessed over Farrah for all these years they know her. You didn't, you never will so shut up already. You are creeeeeeeppppyyyy!!!

Anonymous said...

Farrah's Story lost at the Emmys tonight. What a shame for not recognizing the bravery Farrah made public. In the end, she did raise cancer awareness so not a loss in any way. She should be proud of her efforts to bring this private matter public. Rest in peace Farrah!!

Mother of the year said...

Craig, I'm very glad to read about what happened in court.

As far as Greg Lott - who gives a crap?
I hate to even comment about it but every blog we see, he gets mentioned when he isn't even in the originating blog.

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