Fox is opposed to a judgment of $ 179 million against the company, one of the largest decisions of its kind in the history of television, about the profit sharing of the series 2005-2017 "Bones". But she does not fight the all judgment.
In a ruling released Wednesday, referee Peter Lichtman said Fox had violated a profit-sharing agreement with stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, executive producer Barry Josephson and Kathy Reichs, the forensic anthropologist whose books had inspired the show, and accused three Fox executives of being parjurious. .
In addition to the findings of actual damages, the arbitrator awarded $ 128 million in punitive damages, which he described as "reasonable and necessary to punish Fox for his reprehensible behavior and dissuade him from any subsequent unlawful conduct ".
Fox seeks to quash these punitive damages and claims that this decision is a "flagrant injustice, fraught with errors and gratuitous attacks of a character".
But does Fox have a chance to cancel the punitive damages? It depends on who you ask.
According to a prominent entertainment law attorney in Los Angeles, who asked to remain anonymous because he has a business relationship with Fox, the company does not really have a strong leg. The arbitrator's opinion in this case "is extremely well reasoned, extremely complete and well detailed, and does not give rise to any bias or anything of that nature. But instead, he is motivated by total disregard for the truth, "said the lawyer at TheWrap.
But a person experiencing arbitration told TheWrap that while the odds of getting an arbitration decision are very slim, Fox has a good chance in this case because he can say that the "Arbitrator" has exceeded his powers of arbitration ". claims that at no time during this litigation, which dates back to 2015, did Fox agree that the arbitrator could award punitive damages.
This is the argument advanced by the company in a statement Wednesday, which retained the services of Daniel Petrocelli, the main defense lawyer, who filed a motion today in Los Angeles to advance the same argument. Counsel for Josephson, Boreanaz, Deschanel and Reichs filed a claim for damages.
However, according to another person familiar with the arbitration, the two parties had agreed on the issues that would be addressed in this arbitration and the jurisdiction of the arbitrator – and one of those points was that the arbitrator could rule on punitive damages. This insider says that Fox and the "Bones" team have submitted their plans in a document that was sent to Lichtman. before arbitration has begun.
Lichtman, for his part, said in his ruling that the possibility of obtaining punitive damages was a "question raised by Fox for the first time in his closing plea and in his memoir after". hearing "and" argues that the agreements expressly prohibit punitive damages. "
He added that Fox "derogates from the argument" and that the wording of its agreements "does not apply to prevent the awarding of punitive damages against the plaintiffs. Studio for intentional crimes and TCFTV for fraud ".
The lawyers for Fox and Josephson, Boreanaz, Deschanel and Reichs did not respond to TheWrap's request for comment.