The ongoing sideshow that is Keith Olbermann and his employment woes just continues. Within days before a high level mediation meeting in San Francisco, the one-time TV host is now seeking a summary judgment in his $50 million lawsuit against Current TV (now being sold to Al Jazeera). In heavily redacted court documents (read them here) filed under seal in LA Superior Court on Thursday the former Countdown frontman wants an April 24 hearing to rule in his favor over his former employers. The documents filed this week are Olbermann’s evidence why the court should rule for him. While most of the document is blanked out, the introduction to the 25-page filing gives a pretty good sense of where the former talking head is coming from:
Current breached 16(a)(i) of the Agreement by making disparaging and derogatory statements in the public and to its staff about Mr. Olbermann and by disclosing confidential terms of the parties’ Agreement to the press. Current breached 2(a)(ii) of the Agreement by using Mr. Olbermann’s likeness in connection with advertising the Program properties, all without his prior approval. Current breached 5(c) by using Olbermann’s name, without his approval, in connection with a commercial for AT&T. Current breached 2(a) and 2(b)(ii) by denying Mr. Olbermann editorial control over “Program Specials” broadcast on Current, and breached 2(a)(i) by refusing Mr. Olbermann editorial control of the website when it denied his request to stream segments of Countdown over the Website. Current breached 13(d) of the agreement by improperly terminating Mr. Olbermann’s employment.
Olbermann and his lawyers are scheduled to meet with Current TV executives on March 12 at the offices of Antonio Piazza of Mediation Negotiations in San Francisco. Former Vice-President and Current co-founder Al Gore and Current president David Bohrman are expected to attend.
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Olbermann was fired from Current after less than a year in March 2012. Before that the host had helmed Countdown With Keith Olbermann at MSNBC from 2003 to 2011. He also left that gig under less than amicable circumstances. Olbermann sued Current TV for breach of contact and other claims on April 5, 2012 for the full multi-million dollar sum of his five-year contract. One day later, Current filed a cross complainant against their former host. “Current had every right to terminate Mr Olbermann’s services rather than continue to pay a princely sum while receiving a pauper’s performance in return,” their filing said. A May 2013 start to the trial looked likely.
In the latest legal move this week, Current has 10 days from March 7 to request to have the particulars of Thursday’s filing kept secret. Otherwise the full contents of Olbermann’s summary judgment motion will become public. Current’s old and new owners might find that embarrassing. The filing also states that “Plaintiffs’ Second Cause of Action against all Defendants should be summarily adjudicated in Plaintiffs’ favor because Current’s persistent failure to address chronic staffing, technology, and marketing issues frustrated Olbermann’s rights to the benefits of the Agreement.” Vacation days and Current’s “Inadequate and Unprofessional Studio” are among some of the other issues of contention Olbermann has. Olbermann is represented by Patricia Glaser, G. Jill Basinger, Garland Kelley of LA firm Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro