But it’s also a new labor movement that K&B will encounter on Thursday — one that will unveil, on the Federal Building grounds, its own model K&B bungalow, complete with some of the construction defects for which K&B has been taken to task over the past two decades. The workers also boast their own agitprop Web site, www.kaufmanandfraud.com. Speaking for K&B, general counsel Bart Pachino says, "We know that Willis has strongly denied these allegations and is defending the case aggressively."
Will the new establishment come to terms with new labor? Stay tuned.—Harold Meyerson
Writer Sarah Luck Pearson appeared to have hit the Hollywood jackpot when her award-winning article "Hollywood High Confidential" appeared in 1996 in the L.A. Weekly. Agents and production companies swarmed to get a piece of her riveting portrayal of educational malpractice at the campus where she went undercover for a month, posing as a high school senior. Next week, Pearson’s story hits the silver screen — but her name is not on the writing credits. According to a lawsuit Pearson filed in L.A. Superior Court, the company she chose to represent her, the Paradigm Agency, sold a similar story to another studio with different writers attached. The competing project turned into Never Been Kissed, starring Drew Barrymore, which opens next week for Twentieth Century Fox. Green-lighting of the Fox film killed all interest in Pearson’s project at Warner Bros., the suit contends.
Pearson learned of the Fox project in 1997 from a trade article, when she was in the midst of writing her film, the suit says. She confronted her Paradigm agent, Lucy Stille, who told her that a different Paradigm agent, Pierre Brogan, made the Fox deal without Stille’s knowledge. However, Stille said Paradigm did not want to cross Brogan, because he was an up-and-coming star in the business, the suit alleges. Stille said the Fox project was in the pitch stage and Pearson’s would beat it out the gate. In 1998, again from the trades, Pearson learned the Fox project was a go — and hers wasn’t, the suit says.
Writing-credit rip-offs are all too common in Hollywood, and copyright-infringement lawsuits are a tough bet. Pearson is doing something different, suing Paradigm, Stille and Brogan for breach of fiduciary duty and oral contract, as well as professional negligence. Pearson, 31, now a writer for Elle, Mirabella, Selfand the Weekly, is seeking $1.5 million plus punitive damages. She and her lawyer, Gregory A. Nylen, declined comment for this article. Paradigm agent Stille also deferred a statement.