Norman Levy, the 20th Century Fox Film Corp. vice chairman ousted last fall by new management, agreed to drop his $20.5-million breach-of-contract suit as part of "an amicable settlement," it was disclosed Thursday.
Both Levy and the movie company declined to give the terms of the settlement, but Levy said, "I think Fox has acted honorably and I'm extremely pleased."
The accord averted a court battle in whose early stages last February the company issued subpoenas for individuals and firms with whom Levy had negotiated film production and financing deals while at Fox.
Levy's suit said he was hired in July, 1981, and that Fox raised his salary to $750,000 a year from $500,000 last Sept. 11, under a new agreement "based on representations by (owner) Marvin Davis that he wanted Levy to remain with Fox as long as Davis owned the company."
Shortly afterward, however, Levy's resignation was demanded by Barry Diller, who had just been hired by Davis to run Fox as chairman and chief executive, the suit said. Pursuant to an agreement with Diller, it added, Levy resigned Sept. 26 and elected to become a consultant to Fox under terms of his new agreement.
His suit alleged that the company had refused to pay him a $500,000 severance bonus that he contended was due him June 30, 1984, under his earlier contract, but which had been deferred by mutual agreement to early last January.
The action said Davis, as a consideration for Levy's signing the new employment contract, had promised to give Levy a 5% interest in Fox as soon as he completed the buy-out of his partner, Marc Rich. The suit said Levy never received the 5% interest.
His suit asked for $20-million punitive damages in addition to $500,000 actual damages.
In their brief statement released Thursday, Fox and Levy announced "the amicable resolution of the controversy that has existed between them, on terms that have not been disclosed."
"Both sides indicated they were pleased with the agreement," it said. "Fox acknowledged Levy's long service to the company and wished him well in his future endeavors."