Hollywood Law Impact Report
Firm: Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
The practice: The litigator has come out on the winning end of a couple of noteworthy battles of late.
There was Wolf v. Walt Disney Pictures, in which an appeals upheld a judgment against “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” creator Gary K. Wolf, who had argued that “gross receipts” should also include advertising dollars thrown in by promotional partners.
In Corwin v. Walt Disney World Co., Katz again came through for the Mouse House, convincing the 11th Circuit to uphold an earlier ruling that renderings shown to Walt Disney in 1963 were not in fact “strikingly similar” to the Orlando, Fla., theme park he would later build.
And in Wagner v. Columbia, Katz successfully argued for the California Court of Appeal to uphold a judgment in favor of Columbia stating that actor Robert Wagner — who wrangled 50% of the net profits from the ABC series “Charlie’s Angels” in the mid-1970s in exchange for his participation in a TV movie — was not entitled to half the net profits from the “Angels” pics.
POV: “The studios for a while had the reputation for not paying what they owe,” notes the Michigan Law grad. “But as you pull back the layers of the claim one by one, you end up finding that they indeed paid what they owed. I find more honest mistakes where people were overpaid.”