More notes from the entertainment industry. Last week, the 4th Circuit dealt with the fight for rights to the film “Your Mommy Kills Animals.”
On March 5, an appellate panel looked at the fall-out for a defrauded investor in the feature film “Cell Game,” being developed by filmmaker Fabien Pruvot.
Petr Buk invested $125,000 in the venture and the money went into a designated bank account. Unfortunately, Pruvot’s “associate” Bruno Cavelier D’Esclavelles pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute Esctasy. Pruvot pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, and agreed to forfeit the money in the “Cell Game” account.
The bilked Buk went to court for a return of his investment. An Alexandria federal district court imposed a constructive trust, declared Buk the beneficiary and awarded him the $125,000 plus $17,323 in attorney’s fees.
The 4th Circuit said Buk was not entitled to the fund or the attorney’s fees.
In an unpublished opinion in U.S. v. Buk, 4th Circuit Judge Dennis W. Shedd wrote that Buk could not “show a superior interest in the invested funds because there was no bailment and there is no properly imposed constructive trust.”
By Deborah Elkins