Jury clears MGM in TV reality suit

Recording for 'LAPD' skein deemed 'unintentional'

A jury on Wednesday found against a Houston couple who claimed a reality TV show invaded their privacy by recording a police call notifying them of their son’s apparent overdose death.

The Superior Court panel voted 8-4 that while a soundman did “record or eavesdrop” on the 1996 call during filming of the now-defunct show “LAPD: Life on the Beat,” it was unintentional, and there was no liability.

Larry Watts, a lawyer for Robert and Marietta Marich, said he was “heartsick” for his clients. They were “trampled by an indifferent corporation” that deals in “voyeurism and basic sleaze,” he said outside court.

During trial, Robert Marich asked for $10 million in damages. Jurors did not award any compensation.

“LAPD: Life on the Beat,” was produced by QRZ Media and distributed by MGM Worldwide Television. The suit named QRZ and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc.

Although QRZ was named in the suit, the company filed for bankruptcy the week before trial and the claim against it is stayed. The case could proceed if the stay is eventually lifted.

“The whole thing is really a sad set of circumstances. Their son died of a drug overdose,” said Mark Helm, the attorney for MGM. “We feel bad for the tragedy that the Mariches went through, but we have said all along that QRZ did not intend to violate anyone’s privacy … We’re happy that the jury agreed.”

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