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Agencies Drop Offer to Share TV Packaging Info with WGA – Variety

The three main expertise companies have withdrawn their provide to flip over particulars of all lively TV packaging offers to the Writers Guild of America, following a decide’s ruling final week dismissing many of the guild’s authorized claims.

In a submitting late Tuesday night time, attorneys for CAA, UTA and WME mentioned the provide is now not on the desk as a result of Choose Andre Birotte had dismissed that portion of the case.

“The Guilds’ ‘conflict-of-interest’ Counterclaims are actually gone, solely,” the companies’ attorneys wrote. “In these modified circumstances, the Agencies’ prior provide to produce the whole lot of their packaging information for lively packaging offers is now not warranted or becoming.”

The companies and the guild are heading for a trial in March 2021 on an array of points surrounding the year-long battle over packaging charges. In April 2019, the guild directed its hundreds of members to hearth their companies, after the companies refused to cease accepting charges from producers for packaging their shoppers into initiatives. The union argues that the charges — a serious income for companies — suppress writers’ wages and pose a battle of curiosity.

Now that Birotte has dealt with either side’ motions to dismiss, the subsequent battleground shall be over discovery. All sides is on the lookout for emails, contracts, or different paperwork from the opposite that can help their claims at trial. The invention course of is anticipated to be pricey — within the hundreds of thousands of {dollars} — due to the expansive points in play.

In April, the companies advised the courtroom that they have been keen to flip over their central information on each lively scripted TV deal, or about 1,000 offers. Additionally they agreed to present discovery from 15 particular person brokers at every company. The guilds, in the meantime, argued that was insufficient, and sought data from 50 people at every company.

The companies objected, saying that might value them a further $10 million above the hundreds of thousands that they had already agreed to spend. The guilds have argued that the companies’ value estimate is inflated, and that the paperwork are crucial to correctly defend themselves from the companies’ antitrust allegations.

However after Birotte dismissed the guild’s racketeering and federal price-fixing claims final week, the companies’ place has modified. The companies are actually keen to produce solely paperwork related to a handful of writers who’re pursuing particular person claims, alongside with “a significant and applicable cross-section” of its lively TV packaging offers.

“This proffered manufacturing is adequate to allow an adjudication of whether or not any particular person Counterclaimant’s deal manifests a breach of fiduciary responsibility or constructive fraud,” the companies argued.

The companies allege that the guild violated federal antitrust legislation when it directed its members to hearth their brokers. The guild needs to discover the main points of packaging preparations — and to uncover proof that it suppresses writers’ wages — so as to argue that the company boycott is an inexpensive train of union energy in response to a professional concern.

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