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WME Seeks Dismissal of Writers Guild Lawsuit Over Packaging Fees

WME is seeking to dismiss the Writers Guild of America’s suit alleging packaging fees are illegal.

Lawyers for the agency filed the motion late Monday in federal court in Los Angeles, asserting that the WGA has failed to state a claim under which relief can be granted and that the court lacks jurisdiction. It asked that the court set a hearing for Oct. 11.

The move comes three weeks after the WGA withdrew its state court suit against WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners and re-filed suit in federal court. The guild is seeking a declaration that packaging fees are unlawful. It’s also asking the court to order agencies to provide an accounting of all packaging fee deals involving guild members and disgorge all profits generated from “unlawful and unfair” packaging fees.

UTA brushed off the filing of the new litigation on Aug. 19, asserting that the move was a “complete retreat” by the WGA in the face of “certain defeat” in the state court.

“The lawsuit represented the WGA’s ill-considered and poorly executed campaign that continues to harm writers, who labor on unnecessarily without effective representation,” UTA added. “The new claims are equally ill-considered, vitriolic and baseless. UTA is confident that they will ultimately be dismissed as well.”

The WGA West and WGA East will conclude elections next week. The key issue in the WGA West election is over the leadership’s aggressive stance toward the agencies, which included requiring members to fire their agents in April had the agents not signed a franchise agreement banning agents from taking packaging fees and engaging in affiliate production.

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