Kevin Spacey will have to pay production company MRC $31 million over damages caused by his firing from ‘House of Cards’ due to alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of a crew member. The $31 million award includes $29.5 million in compensatory damages, $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees, and $235,707 in costs to MRC.
According to Rollingstone, On Thursday in Los Angeles, a judge listened to arguments from Spacey’s lawyer and then ruled that the embattled actor failed to show that the award was too “utterly irrational” to stand. Without meeting that bar, the judge said he wouldn’t step in to review and possibly reverse the independent arbitrator’s findings of fact in the case.
“Respondents fail to demonstrate that this is even a close case. Respondents do not demonstrate that the damages award was so utterly irrational that it amounts to an arbitrary remaking of the parties’ contracts,” Los Angeles County Judge Mel Red Recana wrote in his ruling obtained by Rolling Stone. “Respondents do not show that the arbitrator acted beyond his authority under the scope of the parties’ arbitration agreements.”
Spacey’s lawyer Jonathan E. Phillips argued Thursday that the arbitrator exceeded his authority’s scope when he concluded that he breached his contract through his interactions with “five specific” crew members who only came forward in MRC’s internal investigation after his firing. Phillips argued that because the five alleged breaches weren’t known to Netflix in early November 2017, they couldn’t be “rationally” connected to MRC’s damages award. He further argued Rapp’s allegations were a non-issue because Spacey’s contract did not include a “morals provision.” “It’s not about Mr. Spacey’s actions as a general matter. It’s about Mr. Spacey’s breaches of the contract,” Phillips said.
In filings ahead of Thursday’s hearing, MRC argued that Spacey’s renewed attempt to overturn the award was “devoted to the same, factually false, twice-rejected argument that his breaches did not cause the shortening of Season 6.” The studio revealed that the neutral arbitrator who decided the sealed case “found that on over 10 different occasions, actor and producer Kevin Spacey egregiously breached his contractual obligations by sexually touching young crew members.”