×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Faces Order to Stop Poaching Fox Employees

A judge on Monday indicated that he will forbid Netflix from poaching employees from Fox, following more than three years of litigation.

In a tentative ruling, Judge Marc Gross granted Fox’s request for an injunction against Netflix. The ruling is expected to become final within the next few days, though Netflix is expected to appeal.

Fox filed suit in 2016, accusing the streamer of inducing two employees to break their fixed-term contracts. Netflix countersued, arguing that Fox — now owned by Disney — forces its employees to sign “unconscionable” agreements which ought to be declared invalid.

Gross ruled in Fox’s favor on the latter question back in June, finding that Fox’s contracts with the two employees — Marcos Waltenberg and Tara Flynn — were valid, and that Netflix had improperly interfered with them. Fox argued at the time that Netflix had continued to poach employees since the suit was filed, and asked for an injunction.

After further deliberation, Gross ruled in favor of Fox again on Monday. He reiterated that Netflix does not have standing to contest the validity of Fox’s contracts, and granted the request for an injunction.

“Netflix shall not solicit employees who are subject to valid Fixed-Term Employment Agreements with Fox or induce such employees to breach their valid Fixed-Term Employment Agreements with Fox,” he stated in a 48-page ruling.

Fox had sought a nominal $1 in damages, but Gross found — in keeping with his prior ruling — that there is not enough evidence to establish damages. That issue, he said, would have to be left to a jury to decide. Though a trial is scheduled for January, it is doubtful things will go that far, as Fox, having made its point, seems unlikely to pursue a jury trial to recover $1.

For its part, Netflix is likely to take the case to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal — leaving the fundamental issue unsettled for now.

“As Judge Gross wrote, Fox failed to prove it was hurt in any way when two executives decided to exercise their right to go to Netflix,” the streamer said in a statement. “Fox’s illegal contracts force employees to remain trapped in jobs they no longer wish to do and at salaries far below market rate. We will continue to fight to make sure that people who work in the entertainment industry have the same rights as virtually every other Californian and can make their own choices about where they work.”

More Biz

  • pharrell brain child show

    'Blurred Lines' Flares Up Again - Marvin Gaye Family Claims Pharrell Perjured Himself

    Like a zombie that just won’t stay dead, the “Blurred Lines” case keeps coming back. While the 2015 verdict, in which Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and the song’s publisher were ordered to pay nearly $5 million to Marvin Gaye’s family for infringing upon the late singer’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up,” was basically [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA-Agency Showdown: Role of Showrunners at Heart of Legal Arguments

    The Los Angeles courtroom of U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte was packed with well-dressed lawyers on Friday morning, eager to watch a high-stakes brawl between Hollywood’s largest talent agencies and the Writers Guild of America. Birotte allowed only four lawyers from each side to sit at each table, leaving the vast majority of the attorneys [...]

  • 700700 + Ted Turner Dedication. December

    Ted Turner Tributes Established With WarnerMedia Gift to University of Georgia

    WarnerMedia has established a scholarship, internship program and exhibition hall at the University of Georgia to be named after maverick media mogul Ted Turner. The company has gifted $550,000 to the university to create the Ted Turner Scholarship Fund, for students attending the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is also the [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Judge Leans Toward Agencies' Position in Writers Guild Antitrust Suit

    A federal judge indicated on Friday that he will allow the three major agencies to pursue their antitrust lawsuit against the Writers Guild of America. The WGA has urged U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte to throw out the suit, arguing that its actions in its ongoing battle with the agencies are protected under antitrust law. [...]

  • Keli LeeStep Up Women Network 9th

    Keli Lee Exits ABC Studios International as Disney Considers Division's Fate (EXCLUSIVE)

    ABC veteran Keli Lee has left the international arm of ABC Studios as Disney considers the future of the London-based content unit, Variety has learned. Sources said Disney has told the creative community that there “has been a re-evaluation of ABC Studios International” and that it is re-assessing “the creative direction” of the business. There [...]

  • Biggest Scandals Feuds and Apologies of

    Biggest Scandals, Feuds and Apologies of 2019

    Variety looks back on some of the biggest scandals, feuds and apologies of 2019: College Admissions Scandal Wealthy parents including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged with bribing school officials to get their unqualified kids into prestigious universities. Shane Gillis Executives at “SNL” hired, then fired, Gillis in September, before the new season started, [...]

  • Biggest Media Moments of 2019

    From 'Catch & Kill' to Shepard Smith: The Biggest Media Moments of 2019

    Variety looks back on some of the most memorable media events of 2019: ‘Catch & Kill’ Reopens Wounds at NBC News Ronan Farrow’s book relitigates his complaints that NBC News tried to tamp down his investigation of harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. NBC News denies the claim. The book contains new allegations against [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content