“BONES” CAST ARBITRATION AWARD GETS SHAVED $128 MILLION
Steven T. Lowe
Following up on our March 4, 2019 article entitled “$174 Million Awarded to “Bones” Cast From Fox”: On May 2, 2019, a Los Angeles County court granted 21st Century Fox Inc.’s (“Fox”) request to shave off $128 million from a $179 million arbitration award granted to “Bones” cast members against Fox.
Judge Richard Rico ruled that the $128 million in punitive damages would be set aside, while leaving the $32.8 million in actual damages, plus another $17 million in costs and fees, intact. The reasoning behind this decision is still unclear, but Judge Rico did state he would likely issue an explanation at a later date.
Fox had argued that arbitrator Peter Lichtman’s award “overstepped his authority” by awarding the punitive damages “in violation of explicit provisions of agreements between Fox and the ‘Bones’ cast.” Attorneys for the “Bones” cast said they would challenge Judge Rico’s decision, and that “Today’s decision in no way impacts the arbitrator’s findings that our clients are owed more than $50 million for Fox’s fraudulent and deceitful accounting…It deals only with the technical issue of whether our clients waived their right to receive punitive damages. As the arbitrator concluded, they did not.”
The original award of $179 million, handed down by Lichtman in February of 2019, came as a result of two lawsuits filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court in late 2015. The first lawsuit, brought by “Bones” producer Barry Josephson suing through his loan-out company Wark Entertainment Inc., alleged Fox’s “Hollywood accounting” had caused him to be deprived of his fair share of the drama’s profits. The second lawsuit, brought less than a week later by producer Kathy Reichs and show leads Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, made similar claims. In April 2016, Fox asked to push the cases into arbitration, which led them to the 174 million dollar award.
Deschanel, Reichs and Boreanaz are represented by John V. Berlinski, Candace Frazier and Daniel A. Saunders of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.
Wark is represented by Dale F. Kinsella, Chad Fitzgerald, Aaron C. Liskin and Nicholas C. Soltman of Kinsella Weitzman Iser et al. LLP.
Fox is represented by Glenn D. Pomerantz of Munger Tolles & Olson LLP. It is additionally represented in opposing the arbitration award by Daniel M. Petrocelli and Molly M. Lens of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.
The cases are Wark Entertainment Inc. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., case number BC602287, and Temperance Brennan LP et al. v. Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., case number BC602548, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
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