Fox will have to wait another month to find out whether or not they will get their wish to shift the multi-million dollar Bones profit participation lawsuits to arbitration, as a L.A. Superior Court judge today pushed decision on the matter to May 4. In a downtown hearing Monday, lawyers for the Fox defendants and plaintiffs Bones EP Barry Josephson, stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz and EP Kathleen Reichs squared off on the contentious case – even as all concerned prepared to work on a 12th and final season of the drama.
Judge Richard Ricco made no preliminary ruling this morning – “Part of [the agreement between Fox and the plaintiffs] is encompassed by the arbitration clause… that is clear,” he said at the start of proceedings. This left counsel for both sides to re-argue and expand upon the points they’ve been making since Fox first pushed for the case to go into arbitration.
The face-off in Judge Richard Ricco’s courtroom comes almost 5-months after Josephson first filed suit on November 25 last year and nearly 3-months after Fox said the whole thing need to go behind closed doors into arbitration.
The seasoned EP claimed in his breach of contract and fraudulent inducement complaint that that the “unrelenting” and “underreporting” 20th Century Fox Corporation, Fox Broadcasting Company and Fox Entertainment Group stiffed him out of millions over Bones’ run. “Fox has repeatedly breached its agreement with Josephson by systematically depriving him of compensation to which he is contractually entitled and by failing to maximize its profits on the Series — all to the benefit of its parent company and the detriment of Josephson and the other profit participants on the Series,” Josephson’s complaint alleged.
Five days later on November 30, 2015 stars Deschanel, Boreanaz and EP Reich, whose books the series is based on, damningly filed their own suit against the Fox plaintiffs. Like Josephson, the trio claimed they were “cheated out of more than $100 million in gross revenues and being overcharged many additional millions of dollars in alleged expenses.”
In mid-January, Fox hit back with the not-uncommon assertion that both cases should be halted in the courts and moved to arbitration. Calling Josephson’s complaint a “naked attempt to attract headlines and extract millions more in undue compensation,” the defendants said clauses in the respective contracts compelled private arbitration as the venue for such a dispute.
While keeping the names of now-Fox co-CEOs Gary Newman and Dana Walden out of court, plus the shell game of Hollywood accounting, was Fox’s desire, they unsurprisingly met opposition.
The Bones plaintiffs cried further foul and said that the broadcaster was shuffling the wrong papers. “Incredibly, Fox does not even attach, and only once mentions in passing, the document that completely disposes of its improper petition,” claimed a February 22 filing by Josephson’s lawyers at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP. “In a transparent attempt to keep their misconduct out of the public eye, Defendants’ Petition resorts to mischaracterizing both the parties’ agreements and the allegations of Plaintiffs’ Complaint,” added a similar opposition by Deschanel, Boreanaz and Reichs’ attorneys at the LA office of Kasowitz Benson Torres and Friedman LLP.
And that, with several calendar changes due to scheduling issues, is what brought us to today.
The Fox defendants are represented by lawyers from Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP led by Glenn Pomerantz.