*A new lawsuit has emerged from the dueling movie projects based on the life of Sammy Davis Jr.
Producer Rick Appling has sued Byron Allen Productions for $35 million claiming he, not Allen, owns the life rights to the legendary entertainer.
As previously reported, Allen announced his intention to make a film with the blessing of the Davis estate but Applins claims he previously bought the rights and the Allen project is interfering with his effort to make a movie.
The complaint (read here in its entirety) states that in Feb. 2011, Appling entered into an exclusive three-year agreement with Tracey Davis for the life story rights to her father, Sammy Davis Jr. Allen, in Dec. 2011, issued a press release stating that he had entered into an agreement with Tracey Davis for the life story rights to her father. Between February and December, Appling claims that he had begun preparations to move forward with his Sammy Davis Jr. project.
Appling and Allen spoke to each other on the phone, the complaint states. Appling says that Allen said he was already aware of Appling’s existing agreement with Tracey Davis, but disregarded it. Appling further states that he learned that Tracey Davis initially rejected Allen’s offer, because she had already entered into an agreement with Appling, but somehow convinced her to reconsider her agreement with Appling and sign with Allen’s company instead.