Starz is asking a U.S. District Court judge to deny a motion by MGM to dismiss the pay TV network’s lawsuit that claims the studio violated exclusivity provisions on more than 300 movies and TV titles.
In a filing earlier this week, Starz argued that the contention in MGM Domestic Television Distribution’s motion to dismiss that Starz’s claims are time-barred by the statute of limitations (except for one title, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) did not apply.
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“MGM Domestic Television Distribution LLC (“MGM”) does not contest the core allegations against it,” reads the memorandum of law filed Monday (read it here). “MGM does not dispute that it breached the Parties’ 2013 and 2015 Library Agreements by licensing to third parties the rights to hundreds of movies and television episodes it already had licensed exclusively to Starz Entertainment, LLC (“Starz”).
The pay TV network argued that “MGM instead blames its breach on ‘error[s]’ concerning ‘human input and operation’ of its rights-tracking database that caused overlapping ‘collisions’ of exclusivity, which, according to MGM, it was not aware of until ‘the matter first surfaced and MGM provided a preliminary assessment in November 2019.’ (Defendant MGM’s Motion to Dismiss (‘MTD’) at 1-2.)”
It claims that “MGM’s motion thus confirms what Starz alleges in the Complaint and simultaneously illustrates the difficulty of discovering these ‘collisions’ — not even MGM knew of MGM’s breach until late 2019.”
Starz’s original lawsuit, filed in May, claimed MGM violated the terms of library agreements after an employee discovered Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was available for streaming on Amazon, even though it should have been exclusive to Starz as part of previous window deals. The breach of contract suit is seeking a jury trial.
MGM’s attorneys said in seeking dismissal of the case that Starz’s claims “are massively overstated and commercially insignificant,” and that the Lionsgate-owned network is seeking a scapegoat “for Starz’s decline in marketplace standing.”
A hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled for September 11 before Judge Dolly M. Gee.
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