Judge Rejects Writers Guild Bid to Dismiss Agencies’ Antitrust Case

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Jonathan Handel on January 7, 2020.

Talent agencies suing the Writers Guild of America have made sufficiently detailed allegations that their antitrust and labor law case can proceed towards trial, a federal judge ruled Monday, rejecting the WGA’s motion to dismiss the agency claims, which include assertions that the guild — in seeking to end agency packaging fees — is engaged in an illegal group boycott that amounts to an unlawful restraint of trade.

The order was expected, as it elaborates on a tentative ruling delivered from the bench December 6 by the judge, André Birotte, as previously reported. It nonetheless marks a setback for the WGA, which took something of a gamble in seeking to dismiss the lawsuit at an early stage. In ruling on a motion to dismiss a complaint, the court is required to accept the allegations in the complaint as true, which can create a high barrier to such motions — especially when the complaint is lengthy and detailed, as the agencies’ 68-page complaint is.

“Despite every attempt by the WGA leadership to avoid judicial scrutiny of their illegal actions, today the Court ruled that the agencies may move forward with their antitrust claims against the Guild,” WME, CAA and UTA said in a statement. “The actions of this Guild’s leadership have exposed its members to significant legal and financial exposure. We will continue to take all steps necessary to defend our respective businesses and will aggressively move forward to address the issues in this litigation.”…

The WGA downplayed the 18-page order. “A dismissal would have been welcomed, but we appreciate the court’s desire to have a more complete factual record,” the guild said in a statement. “We continue to move forward with our case and are confident that the evidence uncovered through discovery will prove the agencies’ conflicts of interest and breach of fiduciary duty that we have detailed in our complaint.” …

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About Jeffrey Burman 5245 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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