Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Courts Media Television News Technology

21st Century Fox Sues Netflix Over Executive Poaching (latimes.com) 83

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Los Angeles Times: 21st Century Fox on Friday filed a lawsuit against Netflix, accusing the streaming video giant of illegally recruiting two of its executives who were under contract. The suit, which was filed Friday in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, says Netflix engaged in a "brazen campaign to unlawfully target, recruit, and poach valuable Fox executives by illegally inducing them to break their employment contracts with Fox to work at Netflix." The lawsuit was sparked following the exits of two Fox executives: Marcos Waltenberg, who made the jump to Netflix earlier this year, previously worked as a marketing executive at Twentieth Century Fox Film; Tara Flynn, who made the move to Netflix just last week, had been the vice president of creative affairs at Fox 21 TV Studios. Fox alleges that Netflix pursued and hired the executives even though it knew they each had employment contracts that were still in effect, according to the complaint. The Century City-based studio is seeking an injunction to prevent Netflix from interfering with its employment contracts, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. A Netflix spokesperson said in a statement: "We intend to defend this lawsuit vigorously. We do not believe Fox's use of fixed term employment contracts in this manner are enforceable. We believe in employee mobility and will fight for the right to hire great colleagues no matter where they work."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

21st Century Fox Sues Netflix Over Executive Poaching

Comments Filter:
  • SInking SHip (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ISoldat53 ( 977164 ) on Saturday September 17, 2016 @10:35AM (#52907279)
    The rats are leaving the sinking ship.
    • Do you think the quality of movies and series will be as good as it is once our only choice is Netflix?
      • No, but fortunately the requirements for opening a service like Netflix are WAY lower than for opening a cable TV service.

  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMkeirstead.org> on Saturday September 17, 2016 @10:35AM (#52907283) Homepage

    This suit will be thrown out before the ink dries. Employee mobility is very strongly enforced in California.

    • These are execs. They're bought and sold like football stars.

      • Their position is irrelevant. Any employment contract that inhibits mobilitybis null and void in California.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 17, 2016 @10:39AM (#52907297)

    Two people have contracts with Fox that, presumably, say they can't work for someone else. Neflix, who has no contract with Fox, hires those people. Fox sues Netfix and not their former employees.

    How the fuck is this not a SLAPP-like bullshit case that gets thrown out teh second a judge sees it? How can you sue someone for breaking a contract they aren't party too?

    • If I offered you a bribe in exchange for providing me with info that your NDA says you can't share, I may not be a party to your NDA, but I can still be sued for inciting you to breach it. The same applies here...sort of. The interesting wrinkle in this case is that the contract itself was likely illegal from the beginning due to the terms in contained, meaning that it was never enforceable to begin with.

      • by Tesen ( 858022 )

        If I offered you a bribe in exchange for providing me with info that your NDA says you can't share, I may not be a party to your NDA, but I can still be sued for inciting you to breach it. The same applies here...sort of. The interesting wrinkle in this case is that the contract itself was likely illegal from the beginning due to the terms in contained, meaning that it was never enforceable to begin with.

        There is no similar application here; employment contracts are between employee and employer and unless Netflix had a non-compete with Fox, this lawsuit is moot against Netflix

        That being said, action against the former employees is probably likely and I doubt the term contract will be upheld in its entirety; in my field (IT) I usually have a standard non-compete clause in the employment contracts for the employers current industry, I would be shocked if a similar did not exist in these employees contracts.

        A

        • by Tesen ( 858022 )

          And in addition, we have not seen their employment contracts, so who knows what else is in there that they the employee may have violated.

        • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday September 17, 2016 @02:08PM (#52907973)

          There is a concept that is alive and well in contract law called "Torturous Interference" - if Netflix did indeed incite these execs to breach their contracts, they have a case to answer.

          • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday September 17, 2016 @04:58PM (#52908507) Journal

            if Netflix did indeed incite these execs to breach their contracts, they have a case to answer.

            You can't breach a clause in a contract if state law says that clause is null and void. Non-compete clauses are not valid in California.

          • by Tesen ( 858022 )

            There is a concept that is alive and well in contract law called "Torturous Interference" - if Netflix did indeed incite these execs to breach their contracts, they have a case to answer.

            It is my understanding that FOX would be required to prove that Netflix has caused FOX to suffer great and irreparable harm by hiring its executives in an attempt to undermine its business and in additional aware of the contractual relationship between the two and still carried with intent to incite the former employees to breach their contract, but since the non-compete is not enforceable in California where are the violated provisions in the contract that are the responsibility of Netflix? If anything thi

        • Employment contracts are between employer and employee but have you heard of tortious interference?

          The real problem is the non compete is not enforceable in California. Hopefully it is dispensed with by the judge quickly.

          • by Tesen ( 858022 )

            Employment contracts are between employer and employee but have you heard of tortious interference?

            The real problem is the non compete is not enforceable in California. Hopefully it is dispensed with by the judge quickly.

            FOX will need to actually prove they suffered harm and loss; maybe I misunderstand tortious interference, but it was my impression that as long as Netflix was not aware of the provisions of the former executives contracts (which they can claim and FOX will need to prove otherwise) they acted in good faith to extend a job offer to two executives in a state where non-compete's are invalid (i.e. tough to prove they suffered harm and loss).

            My opinion is this will come down to an employment dispute between FOX a

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      How can you sue someone for breaking a contract they aren't party too?

      Tortious interference [wikipedia.org], if for example the RIAA/MPAA/BSA falsely claims you're a pirate and the ISP terminates your contract you can sue the accusers for disrupting your business relationship, even though the ISP may have legally terminated the contract according to the terms of service. It does depend on some "wrongdoing" though like in this case misrepresentation, it's not like your ISP can sue other ISPs for giving you a better offer.

    • The only way I could see this working is if Fox were to continue to pay a salary to the executives after they stopped working for Fox so long as those individuals did not go to work for a competitor. Otherwise, like you suggest the case isn't going to go anywhere.
    • They are just taking potshots at each other.

      The Hatfields and the McCoys didn't actually have to *hit* each other, to feel good about *shooting* at each other. Like any feud, it kind of doesn't matter if the shots *hit*, only that there is continued shooting.

  • How are they suing fox? I can see if they sued their former employee for breach on contract and fox chose to defend them.

    What laws are on the books that make poaching illegal?

    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      Please try reading the summary again, dude.

      They used to work for Fox. Fox is the aggressor here, not the poor widdle guy trying to defend himself against big bad Netflix.

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Saturday September 17, 2016 @01:15PM (#52907845) Homepage

    the new guard is bringing in the old guard into the new system.

  • From back when Microsoft hired pretty much the whole of Borlands programming tools staff ?
  • So...Slashdot is also a mundane contract law blog website now?

VMS must die!

Working...