Los Angeles-based producer LMNO Productions and Discovery Communications have reached what both parties are calling “an amicable settlement” that resolves “all claims and issues” within a lengthy legal dispute between the companies.
“LMNO and Discovery have reached an amicable settlement of the claims between them in the litigation,” according to a statement issued by both companies. “The settlement resolves all claims and issues that were asserted in the case between LMNO and Discovery to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. The terms remain confidential, and the parties have agreed to make no further comment regarding the settlement agreement.”
The dispute dates back to June 2016 when LMNO filed a US$7 million lawsuit against Discovery, alleging copyright infringement, unfair competition, common law trademark infringement and breach of written contract. Prior to the filing of the suit, Discovery terminated contracts for six of LMNO’s shows across its nets, including The Little Couple, following, according to a statement issued by Discovery in response to LMNO’s suit, “a lengthy review of long-standing production agreements which revealed procedures and practices that did not respect Discovery’s contractual rights.”
Within its suit, the prodco claimed it was a victim of an accountant who allegedly falsified company records to hide thousands of dollars in personal transfers. LMNO filed suit against the accountant, Paul Ikegami, in July of 2016. That claim is still set for trial this spring. The prodco alleged that Discovery was using the situation to “steal” The Little Couple from LMNO by taking over production.
Discovery Communications filed a countersuit later that summer in August 2016, alleging that LMNO abused its relationship with the company by devising “a scheme designed to systematically and repeatedly overcharge and defraud Discovery.”
Discovery’s counterclaim alleged that LMNO kept two sets of books and overstated production budgets in order to have Discovery pay the entire bill for both fully commissioned programs and copros for which the two parties agreed to split costs and rights. LMNO denied the claims as “simply false.”
Meanwhile, with word of a potential settlement between the two parties emerging earlier this year, two stars of The Little Couple, Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold, filed for a temporary restraining order to prevent the transfer of intellectual property rights for the series. A U.S. District Judge denied the motion shortly afterward. According to Variety, the stars’ litigation against LMNO is ongoing.
In September of 2016, LMNO president and CEO Eric Schotz launched a new prodco, Anvil 1893 Entertainment, which has produced such programming as Transition of Power: The Presidency and DB Cooper: Case Closed for History.
“The support in the community has been overwhelming and we are happy to be moving forward,” said Schotz in a statement provided to realscreen.
(With files from Barry Walsh)