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Kevin Spacey to pay $1 million in ‘House of Cards’ settlement

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Kevin Spacey to pay $1 million in ‘House of Cards’ settlement

Los Angeles, Feb 7 (IANS) ‘House Of Cards’ actor Kevin Spacey will pay $1 million to the production company behind the show, to settle claims that he sexually harassed young male staffers on the show.

Spacey was dropped from the final season of the show in 2017. He was facing a $31 million judgment in the case, after an arbitrator found that the allegations were credible and that the production company MRC deserved to recoup its costs for scrapping the final season and starting over without him, reports Variety.

He had agreed to pay the $1 million over multiple years in installments equal to 10 per cent of his after-tax income. The company has also secured Spacey’s cooperation in trying to recoup the balance of its costs from someone better able to pay: its insurance company.

In April 2022, MRC sued Fireman’s Fund and Lloyd’s of London on the theory that Spacey’s absence from the show was covered by their cast insurance policies.

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Productions obtain cast insurance to protect themselves in case a key actor becomes too sick to perform. MRC noted that shortly after it was reported on Spacey’s misconduct, he checked himself into the Meadows, a facility in Arizona that provides treatment for sex addiction.

The company argued that this qualifies as a sickness that triggers the policies.

Judge Mark Epstein has twice thrown out MRC’s insurance lawsuit, first in April 2023 and again in November. In November, the judge wrote that it appeared the contracts “were not meant to cover this sort of claim.”

The judge dismissed the case entirely with respect to Lloyd’s, but allowed MRC to make one more attempt to amend the lawsuit against Fireman’s Fund.

Among other deficiencies in the suit, the judge has noted that MRC failed to specify Spacey’s ailment, and to explain precisely how it would stop him from performing.

MRC was hampered on that front because Spacey had fought its attempt to subpoena his medical records, and also refused to cooperate with the insurance investigation.

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On December 18, the company MRC made its deal with Spacey.

MRC agreed to lower the amount Spacey owed from $36 million including accrued interest to $1 million. In exchange, Spacey agreed to testify in the insurance case, to be examined by doctors for each side, and to provide his medical records within 10 days.

Armed with new information, MRC filed the amended suit against Fireman’s on January 2. The new complaint alleges that Spacey was being treated for anxiety and depression, and that he was therefore unavailable for production.

Fireman’s filed a motion last week to throw out the amended complaint, saying it “borders on the absurd.”

The insurer argues that MRC’s position is a “180-degree pivot” from its claim in the arbitration case against Spacey — in which the company argued that Spacey was dropped because he had violated the company’s sexual harassment policy, not because he was ill.

In a footnote to his November ruling, the judge had offered that if MRC could allege that Spacey was suffering from debilitating depression, that “would fit far more comfortably within the policies’ definition.”

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The insurer argued that MRC took that footnote “as a license to invent new facts.” The settlement was first reported on Monday.

On Tuesday, Fireman’s lawyers informed the court that they had inadvertently failed to redact confidential information from their recent filings, and asked that those documents be sealed.

–IANS

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