A federal antitrust lawsuit by actor Paul Newman and director George Roy Hill over profits from video cassette sales and rentals was killed by the Supreme Court last week.
The court, without comment, let stand rulings that threw out the 1985 suit against Universal Pictures and its parent MCA Inc.Newman and Hill contended that Universal and other major movie studios illegally conspired in the early 1980s to hold down artificially the profits paid to actors and directors from video sales and rentals.
The lawsuit said that as a result Newman and Hill did not receive their fair share of the profits from two movies made years earlier, "The Sting" and "Slapshot."
Both men had signed "profit participation agreements" giving them a percentage of all income received for showing the movies.
U.S. District Judge James Ideman dismissed the suit, ruling that Newman and Hill had suffered no antitrust injury. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal last year.
In the appeal, lawyers for Newman and Hill called the appeals court ruling bizarre. "How is it possible that a direct victim of a horizontal price-fixing conspiracy does not suffer antitrust injury?"