Producers Scott and Deirdre Gurney are suing ITV Studios after being ousted from their namesake company last month.
"Duck Dynasty" creators Scott and Deirdre Gurney have filed an extortion lawsuit against ITV Studios after being ousted from Gurney Productions last month. Scott and Deirdre are suing ITV for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and civil extortion, among other claims.
Seeking more than $100 million in punitive damages and control back over their company, Scott and Deirdre claim in their complaint, filed on Tuesday, January 10 in Los Angeles Superior Court, that they were ambushed with bogus allegations of impropriety in a December board meeting in a board member's attempt to usurp their company.
According to the Gurneys, ITV is the one that is trying to change the cost of those shares in its favor. ITV board members Brent Montgomery, Andrew Garard and David McGraynor also are named as defendants in the suit.
"This case arises from an outrageous campaign of intimidation and extortion ... to illegally acquire a 40% stake in Gurney Productions at a grossly deflated price," states the complaint, "Specifically, Defendants Montgomery, Garard and McGraynor presented the Gurneys with an agreement for ITV to purchase their minority share at well below the contracted-for price, and then threatened to go 'public' with bogus allegations of fraud and 'embezzlement' if the Gurneys did not sign the deal that very day."
Michael Weinsten, a lawyer for the Gurneys, says in a statement, "The actions taken by ITV and its appointed board members are reprehensible. My clients will not be intimidated by their outrageous, strong-arm tactics to acquire my clients' interest in Gurney Productions at a massively discounted price. We will hold each of these defendants personally accountable for the many millions in economic damages to my clients, and damage to their good name and reputation."
In response to the Gurneys' lawsuit, ITV releases a statement which reads, "Though this filing comes as no surprise as the Gurneys attempt to salvage their reputation, ITV absolutely refutes all of the allegations in this claim as completely baseless and without merit. We will be vigorously pursuing the lawsuit we filed against Scott and Deirdre Gurney in December, following the termination of their employment, on the grounds of self-dealing, fraudulent concealment and breach of contract."
"Emmy-winning producer Craig Armstrong was appointed interim CEO of Gurney Productions in December and has the full ground support of ITV America's senior team," it adds, "Under his leadership, all Gurney Productions shows and development continue to be produced by the company's strong team of producers. It's very much business as usual and our brilliant production team remains focused on making and delivering great shows."
"Duck Dynasty" is currently airing its eleventh and final season.