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Law360: Media & Entertainment Group of the Year - O’MelvenyDecember 16, 2020
O’Melveny is again recognized as a Law360’s Media & Entertainment Group of the Year. Among other accomplishments, the firm achieved a victory for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. in its effort to stop Netflix from employee poaching and advised Viacom in its US$375 million acquisition of a 49% stake in Miramax.
In December 2019, a California state judge ordered Netflix to stop engaging in unfair competition by inducing Fox executives to breach their fixed-term employment contracts. O’Melveny Trial Practice chair Daniel Petrocelli successfully refuted Netflix’s novel assertion that fixed-term contracts are contrary to California law and therefore should not be recognized. If that were true, Petrocelli said, Netflix could freely poach Fox employees without consequence.
“Not only did Netflix’s position threaten contracts in the entertainment industry, but by the sweeping breadth of their arguments, if they were accepted, they could be applied to any employment contract,” Petrocelli said. “It would have draconian consequences.”
The publication also recognized O’Melveny’s success in securing a new trial on behalf of NBCUniversal in a case accusing the company of owing the creators of the mystery series Columbo more than US$70 million.
Finally, Law360’s profile highlighted the firm’s role in several major mergers and acquisitions, including in ViacomCBS’s US$375 million investment in combining Miramax’s film and television studio with its own Paramount Pictures. Entertainment and Media Practice head Bruce Tobey said the deal reflects O’Melveny’s broad skill set, from handling mergers and acquisitions and tax to antitrust and white collar issues. “We are a one-stop shop for our clients,” he said.
Petrocelli added: “We’re not just litigating cases; we’re also counseling clients about issues that are relevant to their industry and work. We’re in the midst of a significant transformation, with the internet creating new forms of distribution and a host of new legal issues.”
Law360 subscribers can read the full article here.