A paparazzi photo agency is in the midst of major money problem.
Splash News and Picture Agency filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 23, according to documents obtained by E! News. In a declaration, the agency's president Emma Curzon cited two pending lawsuits as a source of their financial problems, including one with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. "The claims are disputed but unfortunately ongoing attorney bills have drained, and continue to drain, cash from the business," the declaration states. "Splash is unable to continue with the financial burden to defend these claims."
Curzon also noted the coronavirus pandemic as another contributor to their current financial dilemma. "As a consequence of the global pandemic the availability of celebrity images has declined and budgets within media companies have been cut to reflect wider macro-economic challenges," the declaration reads. "This situation has been exacerbated by two ongoing litigation cases and the costs of defending these cases. These cases are in the United Kingdom and United States."
In December 2020, it was announced Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had settled their legal claim against Splash News and Picture Agency U.K. over pictures taken of the Duchess of Sussex with their son at a Canada park in January 2020.
"As explained in today's hearing, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have successfully settled a legal claim brought at the beginning of this year against the paparazzi agency Splash U.K.," a spokesperson on behalf of Schillings, the legal representation for the couple, confirmed in a statement to E! News. "This settlement is a clear signal that unlawful, invasive, and intrusive paparazzi behavior will not be tolerated, and that the couple takes these matters seriously—just as any family would."
The spokesperson also confirmed at the time that "a simultaneous and similar claim against Splash U.S., a sister company to Splash U.K., continues to move forward in the British court system."
According to Curzon's declaration, the United Kingdom litigation is pending in the High Court of Justice. "The plaintiffs in the United Kingdom litigation...are seeking various forms of injunctive relief. The case involves free speech related issues under United Kingdom law and, unfortunately, has proven to be too unbearably expensive for Splash to continue its defense," her declaration explains. "Furthermore, if the plaintiffs were to prevail in that case it would likely result in a large attorney fee award against Splash. Notwithstanding the merits of the case the company has sought to settle this matter but has been unable to agree [sic] a financial settlement within its resources."