According to Variety, Director William Friedkin was sued Monday by an heir of producer Irving Levin over DVD revenues from the film To Live and Die in L.A, the 1984 film that Friedkin directed and Levin produced. The complaint, filed in L.A. Superior Court, alleges that Friedkin and Levin's company, SLM, retained DVD rights under the original distribution agreement with United Artists.
Levin died in 1996, and the plaintiff daughter Sindee Levin, alleges that on behalf of SLM, she entered into an oral agreement to assign all of the rights to Friedkin in exchange for 50% of the profits from DVD sales. Her suit, for breach of oral and written contract, alleges that Friedkin alone entered into a distribution agreement with MGM for the DVD rights. Levin claims that DVD revenues exceed $1.4 million, and she seeks $700,000.
Friedkin's attorney, Marty Singer, disputed every allegation in the complaint. "We're shocked that she filed a lawsuit because if anyone has claims it's my client. Billy has claims for fraud and other claims of over $10 million dollars against Sindee Levin's father's company, and this lawsuit is nothing other than a preemptive strike."
Singer said that he did approach Levin about jointly pursuing DVD distribution and later discovered that SLM already had assigned its share of the rights to MGM. Levin's suit actually acknowledges the assignment, but claims that Friedkin agreed to honor the agreement to share DVD proceeds, anyway.
Singer says their claims against Levin involve TV rights and the fact that they were forced to make a deal on DVD sales with MGM because the studio already owned half the rights.
Levin's attorney did not return a call.