Five years after striking two deals valued at the time at $300 million to finance 10 films to be made with his company Rainstorm, Steven G. Kaplan has won a California appellate decision affirming a private arbitrator’s $27-million award to him after his big plans with foreign investor Fortnom fell through. It turns out that Fortnom didn’t exist and Kaplan since has pursued the duo who represented the firm, Anthony Lombard-Knight and Jakob Kinde.
In 2008, Kaplan sought a funding deal with businessman Joao Vale e Azevedo, whom the lawyer-producer didn’t know previously was convicted of embezzlement. Through Vale e Azevedo, the moviemaker met Lombard-Knight and Kinde and began his dealings with Fortnom.
Kaplan struck and formalized two agreements with the company in 2010. But within a few short months, the representatives tried to force changes, including withholding performance bonds. In 2011, Kaplan initiated arbitration for breach of contract and subsequently won damages, a ruling that was enforced by British courts.
Lombard-Knight and Kinde sought a trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that they weren’t responsible for the fictitious corporation and hadn’t been properly notified about the case against them. The trial court found for Rainstorm and Kaplan, with Superior Court Judge Malcolm Mackey ruling that Lombard-Knight and Kinde had failed to respond in timely fashion to and could not overturn the arbiter’s ruling against them.
With the appellate court decision in hand, Kaplan has pledged to keep after Lombard-Knight and Kinde.