×

‘CyberGuy’ Wins Ruling in Lawsuit Against Tribune, KTLA

KTLA and parent company Tribune Media cannot force technology journalist Kurt Knutsson, known as “CyberGuy,” into private arbitration rather than open court as a way to resolve his right of publicity and age discrimination claims against the station, an appellate court ruled on Tuesday.

A three-judge panel of California’s Court of Appeal concluded that KTLA and Tribune had “forfeited” their right to compel Knutsson into a grievance process that may have led to private arbitration. That means that Knutsson can have his case heard in open court, unless the station wins on further appeal.

Knutsson sued KTLA, Tribune  and other stations in 2013, claiming age discrimination, misappropriation of name and likeness, breach of contract and unfair business practices/unfair competition.

His suit contended that after signing a five-year agreement in 2008, KTLA informed him at the end of 2010 that it wanted to terminate the contract on March 31, 2011. According to his complaint, Knutsson believed that he would continue as a technology reporter if he agreed to take less money.

But on Feb. 14, 2011, Knutsson was told that it would be his last day on the air and he would not return to the station. News director Jason Ball also told him that the other local stations that carried his segments would be notified of his departure.

The next day, his lawsuit claimed, a younger reporter, Rich DeMuro, was doing reports on consumer technology in the same studio and format, and KTLA and other stations continued to feature CyberGuy and Kurt the CyberGuy on their websites. A user searching for CyberGuy online instead would be led to DeMuro’s reports, in what Knutsson claims was done by manipulating content descriptions.

His suit also claimed that KTLA and Tribune failed to pay his company a share of advertising revenue, a term of the 2008 contract, and that they did not have ownership of the CyberGuy brand. In his age discrimination claim, Knutsson contended that even though he was never given a negative performance review or any indication his employment was in jeopardy, he was replaced by DeMuro, “a significantly younger person who was less experienced and less qualified.” He claimed that KTLA had a “pattern and practice of discriminating against older employees, especially on-air talent.”

A spokesman for Tribune Media said they had no comment.

The appellate judges concluded that even though there is an arbitration clause in the AFTRA collective bargaining agreement, KTLA could only compel the union to arbitrate, not the rank and file. The station “has cited no common law developed by the federal courts that creates a duty by an employee under these circumstances to arbitrate a dispute,” they said in the published opinion.

 

More TV

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

  • Teyonah Parris

    Teyonah Parris Cast in 'WandaVision' at Disney Plus

    “Mad Men” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” actress Teyonah Parris has been cast in Disney Plus’ “Wanda Vision” series. She will play an adult version of Monica Rambeau, a child character introduced in the film “Captain Marvel.” The announcement was made at Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation. The forthcoming Disney+ series about Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth [...]

  • Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx - NOS4A2

    'NOS4A2' Renewed for Season 2 at AMC

    AMC has renewed “NOS4A2” for a second season. The news was announced during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con and ahead of the Season 1 finale. Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes and is slated to air in 2020. The series, which is based on the 2013 Joe Hill novel of the same [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Signs Netflix Deal With Expanded Coverage

    SAG-AFTRA and streaming giant Netflix have agreed to a new three-year contract with expanded coverage for union performers. Netflix has previously employed SAG-AFTRA members under the union’s standard master contracts for television and film and had been signing on a production by production basis. The union announced Saturday that the new deal recognizes performance capture as covered work [...]

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show photocall,

    Cara Delevingne Says Her 'Carnival Row' Character Is Pansexual, Explains Defending Taylor Swift Against Justin Bieber

    Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom’s love affair may be at the center of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “Carnival Row,” but the British actress doesn’t want viewers to assume her faerie character is heterosexual. “I’m a pansexual faerie,” Delevingne told Variety during an exclusive one-on-one interview at Comic-Con adding that there are other queer [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins

    'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins 'Arrow' Final Season

    “Russian Doll” standout Charlie Barnett is joining the “Arrowverse.” Barnett, who is having a busy year having also appeared in Netflix’s “Tales of the City,” comes on board in the series regular role of John Diggle, Jr., son of David Ramsey’s character. News of his casting was announced at the show’s farewell Comic-Con panel where things [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content