Fox Drops Interference Claims Against Netflix In Poaching Suit

20th Century Fox; Netflix

Two weeks after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled 20th Century Fox was entitled to injunctive relief in its long-running executive-poaching lawsuit against Netflix, Fox has agreed to drop two claims of tortious interference.

The agreement makes it more likely than ever that the rivals will not go to trial over the dispute that began in 2016. That trial-date start for now remains scheduled for January 27, as Netflix previously said it planned to appeal Judge Marc Gross’ original December 10 ruling.

In a joint stipulation order (read it here) filed earlier this week by the companies’ respective lawyers, the filing notes that despite the two dropped claims “Netflix is not precluded from arguing that the Court’s finding of triable issues of fact as to damages under Claim 1 and Claim 2 bars summary adjudication for Fox on Claim 3,” which remains, claims unlawful and unfair business practices under California law.

Fox, now owned by Disney, first sued Netflix in September 2016 after the streamer hired away Fox execs Marcos Waltenberg and Tara Flynn. The long legal fight that ensued included Netflix claiming Fox’s contracts should be voided because they violate California’s seven-year rule and severely restrict employee mobility.

Gross’ original ruling said that “Netflix shall not solicit employees who are subject to valid Fixed-Term Employment Agreements with Fox or induce such employees to breach their valid Fixed-Term Employment Agreements with Fox,” but he did not award damages to Fox over the matter.

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