Producers Want NY Law Applied in Suit Concerning High-Profile DVDs

LOS ANGELES -- Two men being sued for allegedly deceiving a Chatsworth company into believing that they could produce blockbuster DVDs featuring NBA players and recording stars want New York law applied in the California courtroom where the case will be tried.

Attorneys for the defendants, Ronald M. Kraft and Perry Landesberg, filed a joint motion Monday asking Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David L. Minning to find that the Empire State's statutes should determine whether any of five contracts were breached between them and the plaintiff, Image Entertainment Inc.

Their argument is based on Kraft having a business address in New York, Landesberg being a resident there and the fact that Mic Media and Lyricist Lounge -- two companies that also are named in the suit and that Image maintains have no separate identity from Kraft and Landesberg -- also are based in that state.

In addition, the parties in the case "unequivocally selected that the laws of ... New York govern any disputes arising from their contracts," according to the defense's court papers.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled March 10.

Image Entertainment licenses and produces home entertainment programming. The company sued the two men, Mic Media and Lyricist Lounge, for fraud in November 2004. According to the lawsuit, Kraft and Landesberg told Image representatives that they were "highly experienced entertainment producers and business people with well-deserved impeccable reputations."

The defendants told Image that they had firm commitments from such NBA players as Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, along with recording stars Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Xzibit and Redman, to appear in a DVD that Kraft would produce, the suit states.

Based on their representations, Image entered into contracts with the defendants in 2002-03 and gave them more than $1 million, according to the suit.

In reality, the defendants did not have the finances, commitments or abilities to complete the project, causing damages to Image in the millions of dollars, according to the lawsuit.

Kraft and Landesberg have denied any wrongdoing. The trial is scheduled March 16.

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