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Sheen, Asner Back Lawsuit To Halt SAG, AFTRA Merger

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — In Hollywood, both on-screen and off, there are rarely any negotiations without a little legal drama thrown in.

Nearly one month after an agreement was approved by officials with the Screen Actors Guild to merge with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, some of the union's biggest names have filed a lawsuit to kill the proposal.

Martin Sheen, Ed Asner, and Valerie Harper are among the big-name actors who accuse union board members of failing to follow through on a pledge to conduct an in-depth study on the how the merger would affect pension plans.

Entertaiment attorney Jonathan Handel told KNX 1070 that the lawsuit is both economically and politically driven.


"It is an attempt to sidetrack or derail the merger attempt...they're charging that there wasn't enough due diligence and that the pension and health plan would suffer," Handel said.

SAG officials are calling the suit nothing more than a publicity stunt, saying it's "without merit", "completely preposterous" and an attempt to derail the membership's right to actually vote on the issue.

The lawsuit, however, did not seek to stop the mailing of the ballots that are set to be mailed out on Monday and are due back by the end of March.

"Sometime in that time frame, they're going to actually move into court, the plaintiffs, and seek to preemptively void the results," said Handel.

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