Procedural Posture

Plaintiffs, a promoter of a proposed reality television series and its president, sued defendants, a broadcaster and its entertainment division president, for, inter alia, misappropriation of property. The Los Angeles County Superior Court, California, entered summary judgment for the broadcaster and sustained the entertainment division president’s demurrer to plaintiffs’ breach of confidence cause of action. Plaintiffs appealed.

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Overview

The name of plaintiffs’ show was “Hollywood Screentest.” Plaintiffs argued that the broadcaster used their ideas without properly compensating them for that use. The court concluded that each of plaintiffs’ causes of action failed as a matter of law because the broadcaster’s undisputed evidence of independent creation of a show entitled “The Next Action Star” prevented a finding that it used plaintiffs’ ideas. The court declined to draw inferences based on general similarities between the two shows. The broadcaster produced extensive evidence documenting the development and creation of “The Next Action Star” by entities entirely independent from it. Plaintiffs pointed to no evidence that the broadcaster actually used their ideas. Plaintiffs’ speculation as to the broadcaster’s use was insufficient to create a disputed issue of fact. The originality of plaintiffs’ ideas was irrelevant to the question of whether the independent creation of “The Next Action Star” precluded their causes of action. Because of the undisputed evidence of the independent creation of “The Next Action Star,” plaintiffs could not show that the broadcaster misappropriated any ideas from them.

Outcome

The order granting summary judgment was affirmed.