Producers on ABC series claim Eye cannot pursue arbitration claim

The team behind ABC’s “The Glass House” have sued CBS, claiming that the network is demanding arbitration and $1 million in damages from each of them even though a federal judge already rejected claims that the show was a ripoff of the Eye’s “Big Brother.”

“Glass House” executive producer Kenny Rosen, ABC alternative series VP Corie Henson and “Glass House” chief competition designer Michael O’Sullivan filed suit earlier this week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

Earlier this year, CBS sued ABC, alleging that Rosen, Henson and O’Sullivan misappropriated trade secrets and that the show itself infringed on the networks copyright in “Big Brother.” They had worked on “Big Brother,” and signed non-disclosure agreements as part of their employment with the show.

But a federal judge last summer refused a CBS effort to stop ABC from airing “Glass House,” and CBS eventually dropped the suit in a dismissal without prejudice.

According to the new suit, “on the same day that CBS dropped the plaintiffs from its federal case, it belatedly attempted to invoke the previously ignored arbitration provision from the nondisclosure agreements.” The suit claims that, having failed in the federal court, CBS went “forum shopping,” and sought arbitration demands of $1 million in liquidated and punitive damages from each of them.

The suits seeks a declaration that CBS waived its right to arbitration when it pursued litigation in federal court. They also seek a declaration that the network’s breach of contract claims are “without merit,” as well as damages for “CBS’s breach of the provision in the nondisclosure agreements requiring the parties to keep any arbitration confidential.”

A spokesman for CBS said in a statement, “We believe this is simply an attempt to delay the inevitable arbitration proceeding. We are very confident in our position that there has been violation of signed, written confidentiality agreements, and we look forward to a determination of that matter by the arbitration panel.”

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