WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

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  • 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/

  • #2
    Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

    Innnnnnteresting...

    Thoughts, J. Banks?
    Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

    Comment


    • #3
      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

      Comment


      • #4
        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:

        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.
        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

          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

          Comment


          • #6
            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.
            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

                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...
                Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

                Comment


                • #9
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

                    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!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

                      so apparently the candidates meeting last night was a real barn burner, but left the members apparently more unified than ever behind leadership

                      a tweet this morning from Josh Friedman clarified something for me that i feel like i kind of knew in the back of my mind but hearing his experience with a producer really brought it home:

                      https://twitter.com/Josh_Friedman/st...36898315210754

                      "I had a meeting yesterday with the head of a big tv company-we'd never met before and I remarked to him it was weird we'd never sat down previously. His answer: Easy. We were CAA and you were UTA. #systemisbusted"

                      If I were a creative and hungry plaintiffs attorney, I would want to spend several hours in a deposition with that exec. If the packaging agencies have, to some degree or other, siloing writers in this fashion, my lawyer guts tell me they potentially have bigger problems than just the current WGA suit.

                      emphasis on potentially but... if they've been treating writers this way that tells me they in all likelihood were treating actors and directors similarly. and that just opens up whole other flank in terms of liability for breach of fiduciary duty and anticompetitive behavior in restraint of trade (when Detroit auto executives lived next door to each other, if one was GM and one was Ford, they literally wouldn't even say a word between themselves for fear of Dept. of Justice finding out, because of the mere implication of collusion)

                      maybe nothing more will come of these anecdotes that seem to get traded more frequently the more that writers learn of all the meetings and projects that they didn't have access to now that they're agentless. but it feels to me like the tip of an iceberg and the WGA suit is not the whole iceberg itself

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

                        Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
                        so apparently the candidates meeting last night was a real barn burner, but left the members apparently more unified than ever behind leadership

                        a tweet this morning from Josh Friedman clarified something for me that i feel like i kind of knew in the back of my mind but hearing his experience with a producer really brought it home:

                        https://twitter.com/Josh_Friedman/st...36898315210754

                        "I had a meeting yesterday with the head of a big tv company—we’d never met before and I remarked to him it was weird we’d never sat down previously. His answer: Easy. We were CAA and you were UTA. #systemisbusted"

                        If I were a creative and hungry plaintiffs attorney, I would want to spend several hours in a deposition with that exec. If the packaging agencies have, to some degree or other, siloing writers in this fashion, my lawyer guts tell me they potentially have bigger problems than just the current WGA suit.

                        emphasis on potentially but... if they've been treating writers this way that tells me they in all likelihood were treating actors and directors similarly. and that just opens up whole other flank in terms of liability for breach of fiduciary duty and anticompetitive behavior in restraint of trade (when Detroit auto executives lived next door to each other, if one was GM and one was Ford, they literally wouldn't even say a word between themselves for fear of Dept. of Justice finding out, because of the mere implication of collusion)

                        maybe nothing more will come of these anecdotes that seem to get traded more frequently the more that writers learn of all the meetings and projects that they didn't have access to now that they're agentless. but it feels to me like the tip of an iceberg and the WGA suit is not the whole iceberg itself
                        Ohhhh man. This absolutely happens. Why were two of my TV projects 100% CAA? At CAA I never meet anyone who WASN'T with CAA.

                        In WME's defense, one of their agents tried to help us even though our team was all 100% CAA (I'll name her since she was nice and crossed agency lines to help us... Nancy Josephson. Can you imagine a partner doing that? Me neither, but she did.)

                        I'm soooo glad people are saying this sh!t, because it happens. But, it gets worse, they also try to keep us away from their own clients (depending on what level we're at). I asked to be put in touch with ____ showrunner. They told me "No! He's busy." WHAT??? I'm not best friends with the dude, but I know him kinda. We kicked it at Guitar Center once. Just ask him. "Nope!" Why would you do that to a client? This sh!t happens internally too. Or the fact that my same agent sold a similar show as mine and had the SAME consultant attached as I wanted. Nah, bruh... don't trust these people.

                        But it gets worser. They block deals internally. THAT'S the sh!t that most people don't know (why do I feel a laser target on my head?). Agency bottom line is #1. They are instructed to make the best deal for the agency, not the client. A top down mentality.

                        I am curious how many people have gotten fukked on deals in order to serve the agency bottom line. BIG people. I'm positive this happens because we were asked to do it. More of a demand.

                        But, backing up. Dude, I was married to a CAA agent for 15 years. I know their secrets, not all, but many. These people are shady AF. Why else would my ex (who isn't speaking to me) text me to demand I stop revealing sh!t. And who told her I was saying this sh!t? No way in hell she reads DDP herself. And if I'm lying, why have not one of her trolls called me a liar on here, or, why not call me a liar in the texts? She's terrified I'm gonna reveal the entire true story.

                        I'm hoping this WGA-vs-ATA thing cracks all of these stories wide open to reveal just how many roaches exist in the shady agencies, and how they've been doing this for all these years.

                        BTW - They also protected people like Kevin Spacey. It was agency wide knowledge in 1996. No one cared. So, nah... I don't believe their fake-woke #METOO rhetoric.
                        Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

                          WGA Ballots are out. I think I'm hoping this leads to the big agencies not repping writers anymore. I think that seems safer for us.

                          Let us be repped by smaller agents who focus on writers only and then that will rise them up and then these mini studios (I mean agents) well now we can visit all of their clients and be better for all of us!

                          So now if writers are with just a manager -- they can have meetings anywhere right?

                          Now that I think about it, I had much better meetings before I was repped by agency... in fact I think they killed our sale by being bad at their jobs.

                          If seems to me that book agents really do their jobs and sell their clients work well when its good -- but in Hollywood they can take good work and shove it in to the bottom because their A list client may want to write that idea someday...

                          Oh my god, I'm Gucci!!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

                            Originally posted by Bono View Post
                            Oh my god, I'm Gucci!!!!
                            dude, you wanna b Gucci, you gotta drop an f-bomb in your post.



                            *smooches*
                            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: WGA files RICO case vs. ATA in Federal District Court

                              Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                              dude, you wanna b Gucci, you gotta drop an f-bomb in your post.



                              *smooches*
                              Ha! Fo fukkin realzies!

                              *smooches*
                              Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

                              Comment

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