In Amended Complaint, Michael Shamberg Says AMPAS Wrongly Curtailed Member Rights Last June

In a little-noticed court filing last week, producer Michael Shamberg amended his existing complaint against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, arguing that Academy governors improperly deprived members of rights in June by restricting their ability to propose bylaws changes.

Shamberg had earlier sued the Academy and its governing board, asking the Los Angeles County Superior Court to compel a vote on his own proposed bylaws amendments. Those sought to boost the Oscars with a broad new social media policy, and to require an annual survey of Academy members. The governors declined to vote on the proposals, and Academy lawyers have argued that no vote was required by the bylaws that were in place last spring.

But on June 28—after their initial exchanges with Shamberg, but before his lawsuit was filed in late July–the governors quietly amended those bylaws, adding explicit provisions that require any member-proposed change to be approved first by the Academy’s secretary, and then by its membership and governance committee.

In his amended complaint—a derivative action in behalf of all Academy members, which was filed on Nov. 4—Shamberg contends that the new restrictions “further limit the rights of members.” And that limitation, he argues, violates California law because it was enacted without giving those affected at least five days notice to allow oral or written response.

Claiming board bias against him in the dispute, Shamberg also asks the court to compel a membership vote on his bylaws proposals, rather than leaving the matter to the governors.

As of today, the court’s online records showed no Academy response to the new filing, and an Academy spokesperson declined to comment. A case management conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on January 19 in Dept. O of the court’s Santa Monica branch.

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