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Privacy Motion Update

Deadline to File Objections:

The deadline to file a privacy objection to the parties' various discovery requests in the TV writers age discrimination cases expired on April 19, 2007. Approximately 7,700 objections were received.

Plaintiffs' Motion to Partially Overrule Objections:

Plaintiffs filed a motion with the Court to partially overrule those objections (i.e., to gain access to most of the requested information notwithstanding the objections received) on June 29, 2007. Approximately 100 objectors submitted written oppositions to Plaintiffs' motion and/or filed notice of their intent to appear at the hearing on Plaintiffs' motion. Some Defendants also filed oppositions to Plaintiffs’ motion.

Judges Mortimer, Elias and Mohr – each of whom was hearing one or more of the TV writers age discrimination cases – heard argument on Plaintiffs’ motion on September 17 and 18, 2007.

Judge Mortimer’s Rulings on Plaintiffs' Motion to Partially Overrule Objections:

Judge Mortimer issued a written decision on September 19, 2007. Click to view a copy of Judge Mortimer's Order of September 19, 2007.

On October 1, 2007, Plaintiffs filed before Judge Mortimer a Motion for Clarification and/or Reconsideration of September 19, 2007 Order. Certain defendants filed memoranda in opposition to plaintiffs’ motion.

Judge Mortimer denied Plaintiffs’ motion for clarification and/or reconsideration in a Ruling dated November 16, 2007.

Judge Mohr's Rulings on Plaintiffs’ Motion to Partially Overrule Objections:

Judge Mohr issued an Order dated September 18, 2007. Judge Mohr took one or more issues under advisement and indicated that he would issue a full, final decision in the future.

On October 17, 2007, Plaintiffs filed before Judge Mohr a Motion for Clarification of September 18, 2007 Order. The Defendant in the only case before Judge Mohr, Creative Artists Agency, filed a Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Response to Plaintiffs’ Motion, and Plaintiffs filed a reply brief.

By the time of the hearing on the Motion for Clarification of September 18, 2007 Order, Plaintiffs in the cases pending before Judge Mortimer had filed their Petition for Writ of Mandate in the Court of Appeal (see below). After the hearing, Judge Mohr issued an Order vacating his prior Order of September 18, 2007 and postponing further consideration of this issue until after the writ petition is resolved.

Judge Elias’ Deliberations on Plaintiffs’ Motion to Partially Overrule Objections:

Judge Elias did not rule on Plaintiffs' motion in September 2007. Instead, she ordered the parties to submit additional briefing and evidence in connection with the issue. You can view or download copies of Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ submissions by clicking here.

By the time of the continued hearing on Plaintiffs’ motion in December 2007, plaintiffs in the cases pending before Judge Mortimer had filed their Petition for Writ of Mandate in the Court of Appeal (see below). After the hearing, Judge Elias issued an Order postponing further consideration of Plaintiffs’ motion until after resolution of the writ petition.

Plaintiffs' Petition for Writ of Mandate Regarding Judge Mortimer's Decision:

On November 19, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate and Memorandum of Points and Authorities regarding Judge Mortimer's decision in the Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District. On December 6, 2007, certain Defendants filed a Preliminary Opposition to Plaintiffs' Petition for Writ of Mandate. Plaintiffs filed Petitioners’ Reply to Real Parties In Interest’s Preliminary Opposition on December 21, 2007.

On February 19, 2008, the Court of Appeal issued an Alternative Writ of Mandate and Order. It directs Judge Mortimer either to grant (in whole or in part) Plaintiffs’ Motion to Partially Overrule Objections, or to show cause why he should not be directed to do so. The Order provides defendants or any other interested parties (including objectors) until March 13, 2008 to submit a “return” in support of Judge Mortimer’s ruling. This deadline was subsequently extended to April 11, 2008.

Judge Mortimer retired in March 2008, and all of the TV Writers cases previously pending before his Court were transferred to Judge Elias. Judge Elias stated, at a March 21, 2008 status conference, that she would not vacate or reconsider Judge Mortimer’s Order of September 19, 2007, until the writ petition is resolved.

On or about April 11, 2008, three oppositions (called "returns") to issuance of the writ of mandate were filed -- one was filed or joined by most of the studios and networks, one was filed or joined by most of the talent agencies, and the last was filed by 13 writer objectors. In addition, NBC Universal filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Judge Mortimer's order -- an amicus brief or "friend of the court" brief allows a person interested in, but not a party to, certain legal proceedings to file a brief regarding the legal issues before the Court. Plaintiffs filed a reply brief and supporting materials on April 28, 2008, and four public interest organizations filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Plaintiffs' Petition on May 2, 2008. On May 13, 2008, certain Real Parties filed a reply or opposition to the amicus brief filed by the four public interest organizations and an opposition or objection to certain of the evidence Petitioners filed in support of their briefing.

A copy of the entire court record on this issue is before the Court of Appeal, including all written submissions previously submitted by objectors.

The Court of Appeal heard oral argument on Plaintiffs' Petition for Writ of Mandate on June 26, 2008.

The Court issued an opinion and order on August 14, 2008. It granted Plaintiffs’ Writ Petition, and ordered the Superior Court to vacate its orders denying Plaintiffs’ motion to overrule the objections and instead to enter a new and different order granting Plaintiffs access to certain requested information. The information to which Plaintiffs will get access under the Court’s opinion excludes health and income information.

One of the Defendants, The Endeavor Agency, on August 29, 2008 filed a Petition for Rehearing asking the Court of Appeal to reconsider its opinion. The Court of Appeal denied the Petition on September 15, 2008.

Proceedings Before the Supreme Court of the State of California

Defendants filed two Petitions for Review with the Supreme Court of the State of California on September 22 and 23, 2008: one by networks and studios in four of the cases, and the other by The Endeavor Agency. Parties in this situation do not have a right to be heard by the Supreme Court; Defendants filed these Petitions asking the Court to review the opinion of the Court of Appeal. Plaintiffs filed an Opposition to the Petitions on October 8, 2008. Defendants filed replies in support of their petitions on October 20. The Supreme Court denied review on October 28, 2008. As a result, the Supreme Court has not altered the Court of Appeal’s opinion and order of August 14, 2008.

Other Information

You can view or download any of the documents referenced above by clicking on the links.

The parties cannot give you legal advice as to the meaning of the various decisions that have been or will be issued.

The notice sent to each objector in June, 2007, stated that “[a] copy of the Court’s decision, or decisions, will be posted on the website and sent to all persons (with valid addresses), regardless of whether the objector made a written submission or appeared at the hearing.” The parties have proposed to the judges, and they have approved, a means of keeping objectors apprised of new developments through email alerts. If you submitted an objection, you will be contacted regarding this procedure. In addition, until this matter is fully resolved, the parties will continue to post on this website any decisions and any papers filed by the parties prior to or as a result of those decisions.

On this website, you may also view and/or download the following:

Some of the documents listed above are in PDF format. Acrobat Reader is Required to view the PDFs. You may already have the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer or on disks that came with your computer. If you do, you won't need to download Adobe Acrobat. If you do not have Acrobat, you may download the Free Adobe Acrobat Reader.