Los Angeles-based producer LMNO Cable Group has filed a US$7 million lawsuit against Discovery Communications alleging copyright infringement, unfair competition, common law trademark infringement and breach of written contract.
The complaint, filed on Wednesday (June 22) in California federal court, finds the producer claiming it has fallen victim to an accountant who allegedly falsified company records to hide thousands of dollars in personal transfers.
The accountant, who remains unnamed in the lawsuit, allegedly presented “doctored books” to Discovery in a bid to damage the business relationship, which first began in 1999.
Discovery confirmed in a statement that it has terminated certain of their contracts with LMNO.
The producer alleges that the company has used the situation to “enrich itself at LMNO’s expense” and “steal” such titles as TLC’s The Little Couple (pictured) by creating unauthorized derivative works.
LMNO maintains it is the creator, registered owner and author of The Little Couple.
Additional LMNO-produced shows for Discovery-owned nets are Unusual Suspects, Killer Confessions, Hollywood & Crime and Speaking for the Dead (ID) as well as 7 Little Johnstons (TLC). All contracts have been cancelled.
A statement from Discovery reads: “We understand that LMNO has issued a complaint against Discovery and while it’s not our practice to comment on ongoing litigation, we will vigorously defend against LMNO’s lawsuit. We have worked with LMNO Productions for more than a decade on a number of series and specials that have aired across many of Discovery’s global networks. Together, our companies have enjoyed great success.
“At this time, we have decided to terminate certain of our contracts with LMNO, based on the results of a lengthy review of long-standing production agreements which revealed procedures and practices that did not respect Discovery’s contractual rights.”
LMNO, in a statement shared with realscreen, says it is the victim of criminal activity, adding that it is “disappointed” by Discovery’s response to the situation.
“LMNO remains steadfast in our total commitment to defend our company and our reputation from false accusations and egregious actions. We appreciate the support we are already receiving from the community, including other network clients and our own staff, many of which have worked with us for years, even decades, with excellence and integrity. We remain up and running and fully staffed on our productions for all other networks.”