New Details of Chad Kimball Lawsuit Revealed; Shubert Bartender Lawsuit Expands

Two major Broadway lawsuits continue, as more details are revealed on each.

By: Feb. 12, 2024
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New Details of Chad Kimball Lawsuit Revealed; Shubert Bartender Lawsuit Expands
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Every once and a while I like to do litigation updates because one of my pet peeves is how the media sometimes reports when a case is filed and then drops it.

Chad Kimball’s Case Lives On

As you may remember, Chad Kimball sued Come From Away’s producers in October 2021 alleging that he was “unlawfully terminated” from the show “wholly or partly because Mr. Kimball’s religious beliefs simply made them uncomfortable.”  

Little has been heard about the case since, leading to an assumption there was a settlement. But no. In the fall, Kimball’s team filed a motion to compel more complete responses to requests for information they had made. (One of these requests is a classic. It is: “All Documents and/or Communications between You [meaning producers/their representatives] and any person concerning the religion of Christianity.”) Disputes about information requests are common, but the thing about this one is the information already provided sheds more light on the case.

Remember this all started with Kimball tweeting on November 15, 2020 he was against the state’s ban of “congregation singing." He wrote, in part: “Folks, absolute POWER corrupts ABSOLUTELY. This is not about safety. It’s about POWER. I will respectfully disobey these unlawful orders.” 

The lawsuit jumped right from that to an alleged January 4 conversation between Kimball and producer Sue Frost, but Defendants claim there were earlier communications. Apparently, Kimball reached out to Frost on November 21 via email to say he was aware he hit a “major nerve” and inform her the “the blowback ha[d] been severe,” including being dropped by his manager. According to the responses, he also wrote: “I’m dealing with the cruelty of allegations and rumors about my past and ad hominem attacks on my character. It has been a really rough week…. The bigger story to me is the genuine rage and cruelty in the backlash. And the general intolerance of differing viewpoints within our community. And some of that rage included shaming me for not ‘practicing what I preach’ in Come From Away. While I believe that an unfair accusation, I am also disappointed that Come From Away has been mentioned. And I am sorry you are having to deal with a problem you did not want and did not ask for.”

The responses also claim Kimball had a call with Frost around then. The responses additionally mention a conversation Kimball allegedly had with director Christopher Ashley in early 2021 in which Ashley supposedly “informed Plaintiff that he had created an ‘internet storm’ based on his public refusal to abide by mask mandates – along with Plaintiff’s prior performance on stage and Plaintiff’s mistreatment of his fellow cast members.” No details are given on what that stuff after the hyphen means. (The Complaint had alleged Kimball asked Ashley "if his termination was based upon alleged disagreement with the cast and crew or because of his religious faith" and Ashley confirmed that.)

We’ve gotten a greater indication of Defendants’ defense through these filings as well—they are going to argue that Kimball’s contract had expired, they had no obligation to hire him again, and therefore he was not terminated.

New Complaint Filed in Shubert Bartender Suit

Last summer, several bartenders and water vendors sued The Shubert Organization, Theater Refreshment Co. of New York (which delivers the concessions at Shubert’s theaters), and Theater Refreshment’s head alleging that they were making less than minimum wage. Now Plaintiffs have amended that complaint, with a new claim of retaliation.

According to the amended complaint, following the first complaint, Defendants moved several of the Plaintiffs to theaters in which they would receive less tips. For example, one of the Plaintiffs was allegedly transferred from the Shubert Theater, where there was a two-act show, to the Broadway, where there was a one-act show. (The complaint somewhat confusingly later also complains another Plaintiff was put at the Shubert, which it alleges was overstaffed at that time, leading to less tips there.) Two of the Plaintiffs were allegedly moved from the Booth to the Golden, which the complaint alleges was “commonly referred to as a ‘punishment house.’”

Defendants will now have to respond to this new complaint.

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