Judge Allows Lawsuit Claiming James Bond Box Set Was Incomplete

Casino Royale
Eon/Danjaq/Sony/REX/Shutterstock

In a victory for James Bond completists, a federal judge has refused to dismiss a proposed class action suit alleging that MGM and 20th Century Fox deceptively marketed a James Bond box set.

Mary L. Johnson, of Pierce County, Wash., purchased one of the box sets from Amazon in February of 2016 for $106.44, only to discover that “Casino Royale” (1967) and “Never Say Never Again” (1983) were not included. She filed a lawsuit in April, accusing MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment of violating Washington’s Consumer Protection Act and breach of express warranties.

Judge Ricardo S. Martinez issued a ruling on Thursday dismissing parts of the complaint, but allowing the substance of the allegations to move forward. Martinez’s ruling hinges on the claim that the box set included “all” of the James Bond films.

The defendants claim that the word is open to some interpretation, and qualifies as advertising “puffery” which is not subject to litigation. Johnson’s legal team — from the firms Eisenhower Carlson PLLC, of Tacoma, Wash., and Statman Harris & Eyrich LLC, of Cincinnati, Ohio — countered that there is nothing vague or subjective about the word “all.”

“No reasonable person, unless a James Bond expert, would understand that ‘all’ does not mean all, and ‘every’ means only certain films,” the lawyers wrote.

In his opinion, Martinez declined to dismiss the claim at this stage, and said a jury would have to decide whether the term was misleading.

“A jury must determine whether a reasonable person would expect ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Never Say Never Again’ to be included in a complete set of James Bond films,” Martinez wrote. “From the Defendants’ perspective, this claim will have to ‘Die Another Day.'”

The judge granted a motion to dismiss parent companies MGM Holdings and 21st Century Fox from the suit, and dismissed a claim of breach of implied warranty of merchantability.

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  1. Never say never again is just the unofficial remake of Thunderball. This a silly lawsuit.

  2. Leprecaun says:

    If you’re a Bond fan then you wold know from the title for the James Bond box set that there are ‘only 23’ movies……Casino Royale’s Bond is played by David Niven…..then there’s a segment with Peter Sellers playing Bond…apparently its spoof movie?
    Even reading the comments of the buyers of Never say never again, they realize that its not part of the ‘Bond franchise’…..
    There is a list of the movies included in ‘product description’ too. Also mentioned on the Box set, 2 comments (from January & February 2016) state that Never say never again is missing….took me less than 5 minutes to ‘research’…

  3. Bob Roberts says:

    Congratulations America, this is the type of litigation that makes the world roll their eyes at you.

  4. The Truth says:

    Those who suggest that it makes perfect sense to omit “Never Say Never Again” and “Casino Royale” from a box set that purports to contain all the James Bond films because MGM and Fox don’t own the rights are off base. Many Bond fans consider the two non-Broccoli films to be left-footed outliers in the history of the franchise, but essential elements nonetheless.

    Consumers are not required to read fine print that contradicts fundamentally misleading advertising about a product, nor do buried contradictory details absolve the advertiser from the legal responsibility to accurately represent the product in all its marketing claims. Had the two films in question been licensed for inclusion by the box set producers, then the “all” in their advertising claim would have been true. As it stands, however, the primary marketing message in the MGM/Fox advertising creates an obviously deceptive value proposition.

  5. lechaise says:

    Amazon has full details of the product contents, the set itself details the contents, any Bond fan would understand the difference between the “official” and “non-offical” films. It didn’t include the Climax: Casino Royale either. People like her are the reason take away coffee says “warning: contents may be hot”.

  6. Nicholas Richmond says:

    All seems a bit silly, I wonder which costs more; lawyers fees or just buying the other 2 dvd’s…?

  7. Joel Emmett says:

    Seems silly, yet the plaintiff has a point. Had to qualify “all” as puffery, especially with “Never Say Never Again,” despite studio production/ownership.

  8. BD says:

    Did the description not say which films were included? Or the box itself? And that way people can decide to buy it or not? What a stupid lawsuit.

  9. David Wall says:

    The Star Wars boxset doesn’t include Spaceballs, let’s sue. Seriously, enough already. Those 2 films are not James Bond films.

  10. Larry Bundy says:

    I bought the tin DVD set that went up to the final Piers Brosnan movie, that didn’t include Casino Royale or Never Say Never Again.

    Can I sue too?

  11. Ps says:

    Geez. Only in america. What were they supposed to write? Includes all the James Bond movies, except the ones we didn’t produce and/or were made against our wishes to compete with our James Bond movies, which is the only official James Bond movie series. I’m sure it was written on the side of the box what movie was included.

  12. Phillip Ayling says:

    “We are Film Marketing…we lie for a living and every reasonable consumer should know that.”

    • I feel ALL means ALL and there is no room for dispute. If I had ordered that set I would have expected that all the James Bond movies were included. No one should have the right to decide if a movie should be included or excluded. A huge fan.

  13. The Dodger Hat Kid says:

    Hold up. My Bond50 set LITERALLY had a disc missing. It left an open slot for the (at the time) upcoming Skyfall movie. Should I sue?

  14. C. E. Leonard says:

    The Movies Casino Royale (1967) and Never say Never Again were never a part of the Broccoli produced James Bond 007 films… A good Lawyer can easily have this “spurious” lawsuit dismissed…

    • Mark says:

      You make an excellent point if this box set claims to contain “all of the Broccoli Bond films” and if it containsees no other films besides the broccoli films. If, on the other hand, it claims to contain “all Bond films”, and does include films besides the Broccoli films, there is a decent case here.

  15. Bill B. says:

    She was that offended to start an expensive lawsuit she might lose or is she just someone who is n search of finding that golden goose she never would have any other way?! Something like just reeks of desperation to make a buck. They did this set a favor by not including two of the worst films that have anything to do with the Bond name. Does MGM and Fox even own the rights to these two?!

    • BRAD D FOWLER says:

      No, MGM/Fox did not own the rights. Never Say Never Again was Warner Brothers and Casino Royale (67) was Columbia. For that matter she didn’t get the 1954 television version of Casino Royale starring Barry Nelson as Bond. You’ll never get absolutely everything that exists in a box set. Read ahead of time what exactly comes in it before you buy.

      • Never Say Never Again is just the unofficial remake of Thunderball. So yes, the movie is in the box, just with the original name (Thunderball)

      • Mark says:

        She should only expect to recieve the television series if the box set advertised itself as a complete Bond set. As it is, it advertised itself as a Bond film set. If someone expects a TV series in a film collection, it is not the advertiser’s fault.

    • RQ says:

      MGM/Fox released BOTH of those films on Blu-ray, and MGM had them on DVD for years before that, when that label was still part of Warner, I believe. Never Say Never want OOP quite a while ago, so perhaps the rights have changed hands again?

      • Ps says:

        It doesn’t matter Eon productions, who owns and produces the original Jamed Bond movie series, doesn’t own any rights and obviously has no interest putting those subpar movies into their boxset. And rightly so.

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