On January 31st in a Los Angeles federal court, Loeb & Loeb’s client ION Media Networks, a U.S. television company, won summary judgment in its favor dismissing a $4 million breach of contract action brought by French television production company Atlantique Productions, a subsidiary of the French conglomerate Lagerdere. The case involved the licensing of the U.S. distribution rights for the international television co-production of JO, formerly called Le Grand, starring French actor Jean Reno. U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee filed the decision, available here.
At the hearing and oral argument, the judge, among other things, rejected the argument that the alleged Hollywood custom and practice of informally making entertainment deals could be used to support Atlantique's efforts to enforce an alleged contract. The District Court ruled that, based on a review of all of the factual circumstances, no contract was formed because the parties intended to be bound by a signed agreement: “Here, the uncontroverted facts demonstrate that the understanding between the parties in negotiating the agreement was that the term sheet had to be signed by both parties in order to be valid.” The District Court, therefore, dismissed Atlantique’s contract claim, along with its claims for promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment and fraud.