A creative director and developer of American game shows for international audiences entered into an agreement with the owner and distributor of a well-known syndicated game show. The creative director agreed to provide his services in return for certain compensation and the sharing of certain royalties. After successfully developing the program in multiple foreign markets, the notoriously mercurial owner/distributor began to conceal and underreport the revenue received in connection with the overseas format of the show. Eventually, the owner/distributor just stopped paying altogether in the belief that we would never be able to obtain the necessary records to establish the existence or amount of the royalties owed to our client.
We brought an action against the game show owner/distributor. Additionally, we were able to develop and assert a claim for personal liability against the principal of the distribution company. The Defendants made two motions to dismiss. We survived them both, thereby keeping the pressure on both the entity and the individual defendant.
During discovery Defendants’ counsel attempted to prevent us from gaining access to the necessary records to establish the existence and amount of royalty revenue. However, we were able to obtain proprietary television market research reports for the overseas programming from an obscure industry source to demonstrate that royalty revenue was due and owing. Using these reports and other documentation, we were able to compel the production of the necessary additional records from the Defendants. We also obtained an Order sanctioning Defendants’ counsel and persuaded the Court that certain missing records entitled our client to an adverse inference with respect to damages.
Armed with the personal liability claim against the individual defendant, the Order for sanctions and the adverse interference, we were able to reach a highly desirable settlement for our client.