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Judge André Birotte signs order formally ending WGA’s long legal battle with Hollywood talent agencies – Deadline

The WGA’s long-standing legal battle to reshape the talent agency business is now officially over. United States District Court Judge André Birotte Jr., who oversaw the case, on Tuesday granted a request from the WGA and WME to voluntarily dismiss their antitrust lawsuits, closing the case by saying : “It is so ordered”.

Birotte competently handled one of Hollywood’s largest and most complex antitrust cases for years and helped make a final settlement possible when he urged lawyers for WME and the union to resolve their dispute before it ‘he won’t be judged. “Come on guys. Meet. Do that, ”he told their lawyers at a virtual hearing in December.

Judge Andre Birotte Jr.

Explaining, in everyday language, what was at stake in the case, while gently pushing the lawyers to settle, he then said: “It seems to me that this dispute is about two parties who seem to want the same thing, and who apparently want this to happen sooner or later. It seems they don’t agree on how to do it. Both sides want to defend writers. The agencies want to represent them zealously and the guilds want to protect them. I say this because I hope you will keep this in mind as you go along. And I say this because I worry, and I could be wrong, that in the heat of litigation, with exceptional lawyers and executives – and the egos that can sometimes accompany that – and when you combine that with the dynamics of money and power, people can lose focus. And those who are most affected by litigation, I’m worried, are kind of behind the scenes. I think it’s fair to say that the people most affected by this litigation are not us. It’s not the lawyers, probably even the executives. It’s the writers and the agents who have been in this uproar as you all fight hard and publicly about it.

WGA takes victory lap after agency campaign breakthrough – Read Letter to Members

The case had been submitted to three Los Angeles Superior Court judges before being referred to Federal Court in August 2019, where it was put on Birotte’s roll. ICM Partners, which had been a defendant in the state case, was dropped as a defendant when it went to federal court, leaving WME, CAA and UTA to fight with the guild.

And throughout numerous motions and hearings, Birotte, a former U.S. prosecutor who was appointed to the federal bench by President Obama in 2014 – with the U.S. Senate voting 100-0 to confirm it – made fair rulings that made tilt the scales of justice back and forth. , benefiting one side then the other, in accordance with the law.

In December 2019, when the WGA opposed Trump’s Justice Department offer to speak at a hearing on the guild’s request to dismiss the agencies’ consolidated antitrust complaint, the judge wrote : “The United States’ request to attend the December 6, 2019 meeting, the hearing on the respondent’s dismissal motion is denied. It’s so neat. He didn’t dismiss the case, however, as the guild had hoped. Instead, in April of last year, he rejected much of the guild’s antitrust claims – which agencies called a “resounding victory” – but left the most important elements of the lawsuit in place. the guild. And in August, after the UTA settlement, he rejected requests from WME and CAA to dismiss the remainder of the guild’s fraud and pricing allegations – a major victory for the guild.

Then, in December, after the CAA settlement, the judge dismissed WME’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have ended the WGA’s boycott of the agency until the case went to trial. It was another major legal victory for the guild, and further pressure on WME to settle. And last month, the judge accepted their request for a six-month postponement of the track so they could focus on settlement negotiations.

And with WME’s signing of the WGA franchise agreement last week, which will end wrapping next year and reduce agency ownership of affiliated production entities to just 20%, all of which Remainder of the case was that Judge Birotte approve their request for an order granting a joint stipulation of voluntary dismissal of the case, which he did today. And so he was ordered.

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