×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Judge Rejects DOJ Request to Appear in Writers Guild Lawsuit

A federal judge on Monday refused to allow the Department of Justice to appear at a court hearing in the legal battle between Hollywood writers and the major talent agencies.

Judge Andre Birotte denied the department’s request to participate in a brief order, without offering an explanation.

The DOJ Antitrust Division filed a brief in the case last week, arguing that the Writers Guild of America may have violated antitrust law when it directed its members to fire their agents.

Three major talent agencies — CAA, WME and UTA — are suing the guild, arguing that it engaged in a “group boycott” in violation of antitrust law. The WGA has argued that, as a union, it has broad legal immunity from antitrust suits, and the suit should be dismissed. A hearing on the union’s motion to dismiss is set for Friday.

Though the DOJ said it was not taking sides on the merits of the dispute, it did urge Birotte not to dismiss the agencies’ lawsuit. The DOJ encouraged the judge to order discovery in the case, saying factual findings would be needed to determine whether the union’s actions were exempt from antitrust scrutiny.

The guild filed an argument on Monday asking Birotte to refuse the DOJ’s request to appear. The guild’s attorneys argued that the DOJ has “no particular expertise” on the antitrust issues in play.

The guild also argued that the DOJ has not explained why it should be allowed to appear, and that its brief on the subject “does not identify any antitrust issue of any interest to the Department.”

“There are already several parties and attorneys who will be appearing in Friday’s hearing, and the views of the Department’s counsel are entitled to no particular deference in this case,” the guild’s attorneys wrote.

The agencies informed the DOJ that they did not object to its presence at the hearing.

More Biz

  • Pete Frates, who is stricken with

    Pete Frates, Inspiration for The Ice Bucket Challenge, Dies at 34

    Pete Frates, the inspiration behind 2014’s wildly successful ALS movement, the Ice Bucket Challenge, died on Monday. He was 34.  The historic Ice Bucket campaign raised over $115 million to combat ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which Frates also suffered from.  “Pete never complained about his illness,” his family said in a statement.  “Instead, he [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    ViacomCBS Will Explore Sale of Black Rock CBS Headquarters

    ViacomCBS will explore the sale of the famous Black Rock building, which has served as the headquarters of CBS since the mid 1960s. Bob Bakish, CEO of the company, which was created last week from the merger of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc., said the newly combined entertainment conglomerate would explore the sale of sundry [...]

  • The recipients of the 42nd Annual

    Heartfelt Tributes Trump Politics at Kennedy Center Honors

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Political chatter was kept to a minimum Sunday night as the Kennedy Center Honors presented elaborate tributes to “Sesame Street” — made more poignant by the death of legendary puppeteer Caroll Spinney earlier in the day — as well as Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Earth, Wind and Fire and conductor Michael Tilson [...]

  • Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Soundgarden

    Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Soundgarden Over Royalties, Unreleased Recordings

    A long-simmering battle between Chris Cornell’s widow and the other members of Soundgarden broke into the open Monday morning when Vicky Cornell announced that she is suing the group over hundreds of thousands of dollars in allegedly unpaid royalties and the rights to seven unreleased recordings made before the singer’s death in May of 2017. [...]

  • Stephen Colbert Julia Louis-Dreyfus

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus Talks 'Seinfeld,' 'Sexist' Environment at 'SNL' in Q&A With Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert and Julia Louis-Dreyfus swapped stories about “Saturday Night Live,” Northwestern University, “Seinfeld” and the possibility of running for office during a Q&A held Saturday as part of Montclair Film Festival’s annual “Evening with Stephen Colbert” fundraiser. Colbert, a Montclair resident, has long been a booster of the festival, which is going into its [...]

  • 2019 Kennedy Center Honoree singer Linda

    Linda Ronstadt to Mike Pompeo: Stop 'Enabling' Donald Trump

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Linda Ronstadt, one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honorees, had sharp words for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday night during a State Department reception for the Kennedy Center kudos. Ronstadt and Pompeo faced off in the U.S. State Department’s ornate diplomatic greeting rooms at the traditional event that precedes Sunday’s [...]

  • 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 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content