In the latest hearing in the 20th Century Fox Film v. Netflix lawsuit, things seemed to be going in the Disney-owned Fox’s favor. The case, in which Netflix is being accused of poaching executives from Fox, was brought to court after Netflix signed deals with Fox-contracted executives Tara Flynn and Marcos Waltenberg.
In the past few months, one of the most notable trends in streaming television has been the platforms’ strategy of signing massive overall deals with key creatives, and Netflix is no exception. However, Fox claims in this lawsuit that Netflix’s practices of poaching executives is an example of unfair competition. Netflix in turn claims that “Fox’s contracts were a form of involuntary servitude incompatible with California statutes and public policy.”
The case came to public attention in June of this year, and has since been trending in Fox’s favor. L.A. Superior Court Judge Marc Gross, the judge hearing the case, had already made a tentative decision at the start of the case, ruling that Netflix had purposefully disrupted the employment relationships between the two executives and Fox. However, Fox is only seeking $1 in damages, indicating that the lawsuit is simply meant to make noise and show Netflix that their poaching practices will not be tolerated by the company.
Today, it appears that Gross is leaning towards granting a summary judgement in favor of Fox, though the case would have to receive a full trial in order Fox to receive their $1 in damages from Netflix. A trial is currently scheduled for January, though Fox’s attorney Daniel Petrocelli indicated today that his client “didn’t have much interest in pursuing a trial with little money on the line.” The ruling is not officially confirmed as of yet, but the judge gave no indication that the tentative decision would be changing in the coming months.