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Old 08-20-2019, 04:13 PM   #1
Captain Nemo
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Default WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

Although 'Deadline' appears to have buried the lede in this story and is predictably spinning the legal changes as a victory for ICM, it's clear that the WGA has now decided to take the fight vs. the Big 4 to a new, Federal level, by consolidating the anti-trust case with new RICO charges as I and I'm sure many others had hoped. This now will be a a much bigger and likely uglier battle than expected for the Big 4, in which the FBI will be checking out every square inch of their deals with an electron microscope.

In addition, there's also a story that that SAG-AFTRA is 'reconsidering' the terms of its relationship with the Big 4. If this has anything to do with packaging, and SAG declares solidarity with the WGA, that'll be the stake through the heart of this felonious practice.

From everything I know, the U.S. Attorney's office wins ca. 85% of its cases -- close to a slam dunk. Also the discovery process should be greatly sped up, compared with the state case. However, I'm no lawyer, so I hope that those with a legal background (J. Banks?) will comment on this action.




https://deadline.com/2019/08/wga-wit...ta-1202671876/
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

Innnnnnteresting...

Thoughts, J. Banks?
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

it's probably true (and has been my limited experience defending a couple white collar cases) that the US Attorney generally doesn't bring a case unless they expect to win, and usually do. harder to know if the WGA's case is that strong but yeah i think all things considered you'd rather be prosecuting RICO and antitrust claims in federal court in addition to the fiduciary counts from the state case (which the feds can still hear alongside the RICO/antitrust counts)

from the few cases i worked on in the Central District for California, they do tend to like to move a case along briskly, so if the guild's claims survive the initial motions to dismiss phase, discovery should be a matter of months rather than years.

RICO has been used to take apart mob and drug dealing organizations from the top down, so it can't be great for WME or CAA to have a potential RICO cloud hanging over their IPOs. financially, the antitrust claims might be the bigger ticking bomb because Lanham Act allows for treble damages if you can prove liability, which when you think of how much the agencies have raked in packaging fees during the time in question could be a very big number
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

the WGA just leveled up.

the whole SAG-AFTRA comments are a bit strange, wishy-washy. they don't know after 15 years whether their problem is the same as the WGA??

https://deadline.com/2019/08/actors-...ra-1202669959/

this was what my comment on the other thread about Nagy's fear-mongering. she comes out attacking the leadership stoking the flames of fear, trying to undermine what the guild is working hard to negotiate.

i love Goodman's response:

Quote:
Goodman, in a fiery response, told Deadline: “Ms. Nagy, whose résumé does not suggest that she has any form of legal education, has made some extraordinary claims. She determined that the agencies would have prevailed in state court having read only the agencies’ briefs, and not the Guild’s responses, because the Guild’s responses have yet to be filed. This would be absurd on its face, not to mention an embarrassment, had she simply said these things in private. Stating these claims in public, with a certainty that defies explanation, is reckless and inflammatory, and makes one wonder from whom she is getting her legal advice.”
https://deadline.com/2019/08/phyllis...se-1202672228/

i mean, are these really her own thoughts? and so what if the election is nearing? it's clear that the larger agencies are holding off negotiating because they don't want to give anything up if the guild leadership shifts to the opposition and supports their endgame.
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
the WGA just leveled up.

the whole SAG-AFTRA comments are a bit strange, wishy-washy. they don't know after 15 years whether their problem is the same as the WGA??

i mean, are these really her own thoughts? and so what if the election is nearing? it's clear that the larger agencies are holding off negotiating because they don't want to give anything up if the guild leadership shifts to the opposition and supports their endgame.
SAG-AFTRA, unfortunately for the WGA, is an even bigger shitshow at the moment and they have their own election drama going on right now, which probably means they won't really join this fight at least until the next leadership slate is in place (they actually had this same dispute with the agencies in 2002 and blinked)

the more bombs Phyllis throws on twitter and in the trades, often using identical language to the agencies' own public statements, the more it seems to me she is just a proxy, backchanneling with the Big 4 to take on the role, and doing anything to muddy the waters and sow dissension among the ranks on the ATA's behalf. it's gross but not a terribly good strategy to actually achieve the goals she claims to be striving toward
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

you know, i think "gross" is exactly the right word.

it's so disheartening to see someone fighting against what's right. she's not interested in a cause that is both moral and pragmatic at the same time.
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBanks View Post
it's probably true (and has been my limited experience defending a couple white collar cases) that the US Attorney generally doesn't bring a case unless they expect to win, and usually do. harder to know if the WGA's case is that strong but yeah i think all things considered you'd rather be prosecuting RICO and antitrust claims in federal court in addition to the fiduciary counts from the state case (which the feds can still hear alongside the RICO/antitrust counts)

from the few cases i worked on in the Central District for California, they do tend to like to move a case along briskly, so if the guild's claims survive the initial motions to dismiss phase, discovery should be a matter of months rather than years.

RICO has been used to take apart mob and drug dealing organizations from the top down, so it can't be great for WME or CAA to have a potential RICO cloud hanging over their IPOs. financially, the antitrust claims might be the bigger ticking bomb because Lanham Act allows for treble damages if you can prove liability, which when you think of how much the agencies have raked in packaging fees during the time in question could be a very big number
Thanks for fleshing the case(s) out. What you says seems more or less to agree with my own anecdotal experience. In dealing with USAAs while researching a couple of federal cases, I was amazed by their records. When I asked about the incredible success rate, after some obvious jokes, they admitted it was because they don't take weak cases -- cases they don't think they can win. And if they feel they're dealing with a good case, but one which seems as though it might have been underinvestigated, the Feds have the ability to access almost infinite resources in their own investigation. Re the USAAs themselves, they were uniformly, super-smart, relentlessly aggressive, painstakingly methodical, and seemingly tireless. The lives of the defendants becomes an absolute nightmare -- as you say, their lives are turned inside-out. The Big 4 are well-aware of all this -- can it be they still believe the writers will cave?

You mention the importance of RICO in mob prosecutions -- surely the case -- but as Blakey, the author of the RICO statute was quick to point out, the law isn't only intended to take down 'people whose names end in vowels,' but also bluebloods with Ivy League pedigrees. It worked as well against Enron as it did against the NY mob families.

One apparent anomaly of this case -- it seems as though there's little difference between the opposing sides on the facts of the case -- the Big 4 aren't denying they package, just that they're in violation of the law. So, at least the packaging case may turn into an argument on the interpretation of the law, de-emphasizing the investigation. Not sure of procedure, but if the defendant is given the choice of waiving a jury trial, I would guess in this type of case, the Big 4 would opt for a bench trial. Just conjecture, but possibly this is the only real obstacle the WGA faces -- that the case(s) come down to a ruling by one man under the influence of, let's say, the spirit of Sidney Korshak, a notorious figure aptly name-checked by you in another thread.
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBanks View Post
it's probably true (and has been my limited experience defending a couple white collar cases) that the US Attorney generally doesn't bring a case unless they expect to win, and usually do. harder to know if the WGA's case is that strong but yeah i think all things considered you'd rather be prosecuting RICO and antitrust claims in federal court in addition to the fiduciary counts from the state case (which the feds can still hear alongside the RICO/antitrust counts)

from the few cases i worked on in the Central District for California, they do tend to like to move a case along briskly, so if the guild's claims survive the initial motions to dismiss phase, discovery should be a matter of months rather than years.

RICO has been used to take apart mob and drug dealing organizations from the top down, so it can't be great for WME or CAA to have a potential RICO cloud hanging over their IPOs. financially, the antitrust claims might be the bigger ticking bomb because Lanham Act allows for treble damages if you can prove liability, which when you think of how much the agencies have raked in packaging fees during the time in question could be a very big number
Thanks for unpacking...
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

Useful take on the new RICO charges by a writer'IP lawyer Robb Chavis, much of it echoing the comments of J. Banks above, with a few additional notes.



https://mobile.twitter.com/RobbChavi...84651493314562
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Nemo View Post
Useful take on the new RICO charges by a writer'IP lawyer Robb Chavis, much of it echoing the comments of J. Banks above, with a few additional notes.



https://mobile.twitter.com/RobbChavi...84651493314562
That was useful. Now I get it. Thanks!
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