[TV] Warner Bros Settles Lawsuit Over Smallville Posted by Joseph Lee on 01.05.2013
It was claimed they screwed people out of money...
Warner Bros has settled a large portion of a lawsuit that claimed the creators and executive producers of Smallville were cheated out of tens of millions of dollars through license-fee deals that the studio made with its sister TV networks, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Tollin/Robbins Production turned in papers in Los Angeles Superior Court to have the claims dismissed on Wednesday. A spokesperson for WB confirmed the news. Part of the case from Killara Productions, run by Miles Millar and Leonardtown Productions, run by Alfred Gouch, will continue. The Tollin/Robbins lawsuit from showrunners Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins wanted over $100 million in damages. It was filed in March 2010, a year before the show ended after ten seasons.
The producers thought they were cheated out of money when Warner Bros Television undersold the series to affiliates WB Network and The CW instead of licensing the series to outside companies. The case was given a trial date of June back in August. Warner said in court papers that it had the right to determine the rules of the license agreement. They also told the judge that the damages were "speculative" because Tollin/Robbins couldn't show that more profits would have been earned if Smallville were licensed to Fox or another network.
Judge Michael Johnson said there was enough to send it to the jury. He added that there was enough issues as to whether WBTV agreed to hold negotiations at various divisions in-house or if the producers contracts included profit definitions that had the money earned at "fair market rates consistent with licenses granted by Warner to non-affiliates." The judge said it was up to a jury to determine if they had deals comparable to other WBTV deals, if the terms met the customs and practices of the industry and if the license agreements were negotiated in good faith.
The plantiff's claims for money were helped by the judge allowing for the chance of monetary damages as well as a late claim that WB paid itself for Superman rights by including subsidiary DC comics and reducing the plaintiffs' profit participation. This allegedly cost producers $13.4 million. Terms of the settlement weren't made public. The claims from Millar and Gough are still active.