Law Offices of
James W. Coupe
777 South Figueroa Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90017
d. (213) 406-1171
c: (818) 421-9622
James W. Coupe
Attorney with substantial domestic and international experience in entertainment, securities, finance and general corporate law including: completion guaranties, movie and television financing, film production and distribution, copyright, trademark and licensing law, bank financing, securities law, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, secured transactions, letters of credit, corporate litigation, arbitration, mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Admitted to practice in California, New York, and Tennessee.
ARBITRATION, MEDIATION, AND EXPERT TESTIMONY
• Currently arbitrator in numerous Independent Film & Television Alliance (formerly AFMA) arbitrations involving delivery and other disputes relating to motion pictures and television series; also represents clients before IFTA and other arbitral tribunals.
• Handles numerous corporate and entertainment mediations as confidential private mediator as well as mediator on the ADR Panel of the Los Angeles Superior Court.
• Acted as Expert Witness for the Arbitration of Kinowelt vs. Beacon Pictures relating to the Film entitled Spy Game (screenplay conformity dispute) and for Woody Allen’s production company, Moses Productions, Inc., relating to the litigation with Sweetland Films (computing adjusted gross profits). Recently retained as expert on Miracle at Santa Anna (Spike Lee film) and Blackwater Transit. Also participated in the Arbitration of Cinema Completions International, Inc. vs. IMA Films (dispute over technical quality of film). These disputes were successfully resolved in favor of the parties which I represented.
• Expert Witness work also involved an International Arbitration based in London acting as Eversheds LLP’s expert on California law of damages and motion picture screenplay conformity relating to the film The Lazarus Child; contribution included securing French distributor expert for Eversheds LLP. Also, assisted in preparation of legal brief to the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division challenging the Arbitrator’s Interim Award.
ENTERTAINMENT LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS, PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION
• Structured business and legal aspects of financing of motion picture and television productions backed by completion guaranties or otherwise secured, including both foreign and state tax subsidy financing, co-production financing, split rights financing and credit supported and secured financing, with various foreign countries including: Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Isle of Man, France, Luxembourg and Australia as well as individual states. Solid working relationships with all the major entertainment lenders, studios and mini-major studios.
• Drafted, negotiated and coordinated the legal documentation relating to the above referenced productions within and outside of the United States. Transactions include films and TV series: Hero, The English Patient, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Traffic, Dances with Wolves, Driving Miss Daisy, Cliffhanger, The Silence of the Lambs, Baywatch, and A River Runs Through It.
• Performs legal and business affairs services for various production entities including copyright, trademark and music licensing matters, drafting and negotiation of all major agreements with cast and crew, the guilds, distributors, banks and related completion guaranty documentation; also handled negotiation and documentation of co-publishing and license agreements relating to interactive entertainment software with Electronic Arts.
• Production/Finance/Business Executive in charge of successful completion of the films entitled The Devil and Daniel Webster, a/k/a A Shortcut to Happiness, Evelyn, City By The Sea, Brown Sugar, and The Antwone Fisher Story including supervising all postproduction activities such as editing, sound, music, credits and accounting.
• Negotiates and drafts financing and bank credit agreements, letters of credit, security documentation and inter-creditor agreements related to film financings. Negotiates and drafts settlement agreements relating to motion picture disputes.
• Represents financiers and distributors in negotiation of distribution agreements, loan agreements, completion bond documentation, development contracts and acquisition agreements, copyright and trademark matters and music licensing.
• Negotiated and documented United Artists’ distribution agreements and revolving credit agreements and related security documentation while at Phillips Nizer.
• Headed creation of Completion Bond Company’s wholly-owned French subsidiary and charged with providing legal and business affairs services for London and Australian bond operations. Managed movie and television financings in Europe directly with European producers, financiers and distributors.
• Represents privately held companies; familiar with corporate governance issues.
• Advises insurance and reinsurance companies on corporate and entertainment matters.
• Represented Walt Disney Company in various corporate and litigation capacities while at Donovan Leisure and United Artists while at Phillips Nizer.
• Administered all financial and legal aspects of Beverly Enterprises public and private debt and equity programs including securities law, banking law and industrial development revenue bonds. This position included securities regulation.
• Active finance lawyer at ARCO where assignments included negotiating revolving credit agreements, public offerings of debt and equity securities, real estate financing and acquisition of Gulf Oil Corporation. Spearheaded multi-million dollar divestitures of certain ARCO assets including the sale of Metals Division (formerly Anaconda), East Coast refining and service station operations and the Los Angeles Plaza Office Complex.
Law Clerk to Lloyd F. MacMahon, U.S. District Court, S.D.N.Y., New York, NY
J.D. Vanderbilt University Law School, Nashville, TN
Member, Vanderbilt Journal Transnational Law, Dean’s List & Student Representative
B.A., Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
Junior Year at the Sorbonne, Paris, France and Dean’s List
Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, CA
ADR courses at the Straus Institute