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Ed Asner And Co. Gear Up for SAG-AFTRA Suit Hearing

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Ed Asner and his legal team traded filings with SAG-AFTRA as the actor's lawsuit against the union heads to a crucial hearing next month.

Asner, together with 15 other plaintiffs, is suing SAG-AFTRA accusing it of mishandling foreign royalties and residual payments owed to performers.

The United Screen Actors Committee, as the group is calling itself, alleges the union has improperly withheld funds and stymied requests for details about the more than $100 million held in trust by the union. The group wants an independent organization established to collect and distribute foreign royalties.

SAG-AFTRA has said the lawsuit is "completely without merit" and sought to have it dismissed. A hearing on its request is set for Oct. 7 in federal court in Los Angeles.

On Monday, Helena S. Wise, the attorney for the United Screen Actors Committee, filed a some 1,000-page motion opposing the motion that SAG-AFTRA previously filed in July.

“This case is about a blatant refusal of SAG-AFTRA and their predecessors to account for and distribute residuals as as well as foreign residuals/foreign levies to their rightful owners for what has turned out to be more than a decade,” the motion states.

On Tuesday, the Asner legal team was continuing to file documents, according to Wise’s office.

The original suit was filed in May. At a SAG-AFTRA national board meeting conducted by video conference on July 27, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union's general counsel, reported that the foreign royalties program has distributed more than $17.5 million to performers since inception. 

Four days later, the union petitioned the court to reduce the scope of Asner's suit, asserting, in part, that his group's claims are a recycling of allegations made in a separate case by "Leave it to Beaver" star Ken Osmond. That suit was settled in 2010.

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