December 13, 2007 07:10 ET

And you thought it only happened in Hollywood?

MERCIER VS TVA: Now more than 23 millions at stake. Deny, Delay, Defend can also carry hefty price tag.

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Business/Financial Editor MONTREAL, QUEBEC, MERCIER SUES TVA: 23 MILLIONS +--(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2007) - Quebec poet and film director JEAN MERCIER, creator of the TV family series MY HOMETOWN, lived both the perfect dream and the worst nightmare that could happen to an independent filmmaker.

The result: Mercier is suing TVA (now part of Quebecor) for an amount in excess of 23 million dollars plus interest and costs accrued since 1998. The original action was filed in 1999 and that amount can now be revised to upwards of 50 million dollars, including the loss of expected revenues over the duration of the life of the copyright of the property. A nasty litigation that will be inscribed for trial early next year and that could set the table for one of the biggest cases of copyright infringement Canada has ever seen to date. The present lawsuit initiated in 1999 is explained in detail within the nearly 400 paragraphs of an amended statement of claim filed with the Quebec Superior Court.

The dream: From scratch, Mercier created (wrote the stories and produced 40 episodes of which he directed 31) a beautiful heartwarming family series picked up by YTV CANADA and sold internationally. MY HOMETOWN was even acquired by the DISNEY CHANNEL in Australia / New Zealand.

The nightmare: Mercier's "so-called" distributor, at the time, TVA INTERNATIONAL, a division of French Quebec TV network TVA back in 1995-96, lost original master tapes of his show, kept it secret, manipulated his images without his knowledge or consent, delivered substandard copies to international clients, and denied him access to any elements of his work for years, thus depriving him and his equity partners of any income anticipated from the initial 12 million dollar investment. Although the facts were known by employees and executives of TVA, Mercier was not provided any explanation, nor was he ever told the truth regarding the loss of his production. After TVA took close to one million dollar from previous sales, they refused to pursue a multi-million dollar offer for the US rights of the series and stopped all efforts to solicit further sales or follow up on any offers. They even refused a prospective sale pursuant to an executed offer tendered by TFO (Ontario) to the producer himself. One lie after another left Mercier completely isolated, baffled and mesmerized by this incomprehensible behaviour for almost a year. Then, as the result of an audit, he discovered why: TVA had lost the original master tapes. An internal memo stated the facts with instructions on keeping Mercier away from the truth, fearing a possible lawsuit for the damages that he suffered.

Delayed for close to a decade by all of this abusive conduct and unlawful treatment by TVA, Mercier recently released MY HOMETOWN on DVD against all odds in the hope of recovering a minute portion of his original investment. The cast members (ACTRA) working on this series, mostly kids aged from 13 to 16 at the time, also lost potential equity revenues estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mercier is represented by experienced Montreal commercial litigation advocate Peter G. McLarnon. TVA is represented by Christian Leblanc of Fasken, Martineau & DuMoulin.

Who distributes the series now: The producer himself. Can you blame him for extreme caution or paranoia? MY HOMETOWN is available exclusively at the producer's site: www.MercierFilms.ca, and he also handles the TV sales by himself. /For further information: Source: Mercier Films Inc. (514) 287-9002

Quebec Superior Court: File # 500-05-052220-991
Mercier Films Inc. and Als
Groupe Tva Inc.

Copy of the "DÉCLARATION" (in French) can be forwarded to you on demand, or be seen at the court public files.

To see excerpts, please go to MY HOMETOWN page at www.mercierfilms.ca
Promo also on Yahoo Video at: http://ca.video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=459397

Mr. Mercier or his attorney, Me Peter G. McLarnon are available for details.
Simply email us your request please at this email: jmerc56488@aol.com

Thanking you in advance for your kind consideration,

Jean Mercier
Mercier Films Inc. 3450 Drummond, Suite 223 B
Montreal, Canada, H3G 1Y3
Tel:(514) 287-9002
FAX: (514) 287-9548

For legal questions about the case

Me Peter G. McLarnon
Avocat / Barrister & Solicitor, 1115 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 802,
Montréal (Québec) H3H 1H3
Tél. / Tel: (514) 842-2391
Fax: (514) 842-7207
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Contact Information

  • Jean Mercier, President, Mercier Films Inc.
    Primary Phone: 514-287-9002
    Secondary Phone: 514-432-0238
    E-mail: jmerc56488@aol.com