Judge Overseeing Scarlett Johansson Suit Offers to Recuse Self from Case

2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards  - Red Carpet

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The judge overseeing Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit alleging the Walt Disney Co. breached her contract by releasing her latest Marvel film “Black Widow'' on the Disney+ streaming service despite assurances it would debut only in theaters has offered to step down from the case because he formerly worked for the law firm that represents the entertainment giant.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert S. Draper's clerk issued a minute order on Monday stating that Draper was a partner at O'Melveny & Meyers LLP until 2005 and that he receives a monthly pension from the firm that amounts to more than $100,000 a year.

The minute order further states that the parties can waive Draper's self-disqualification by filing a joint agreement by Sept. 10, otherwise he will go forward with his intention to remove himself from the case and send it to the supervising judge for reassignment.

The lawsuit, brought July 29 in Los Angeles Superior Court through the actress' company, Periwinkle Entertainment Inc., contends that the 36-year-old Johansson structured her salary for “Black Widow'' to be “based largely on 'box office' receipts generated by the picture.''

But in court papers filed Friday, Disney's lawyers say an arbitrator should decide the actress' claims, not a jury. A hearing on Disney's motion was scheduled for Oct. 15 before Draper.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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