Due in part to public health circumstances beyond everyone’s control, the WGA isn’t going to trial against WME and CAA over packaging fees next spring after all.
“The parties’ threshold discovery disputes and the COVID-19 pandemic have created significant litigation delays, which have caused unforeseeable delays in the discovery process,” lawyers for the guild and the uber-agencies told a federal judge Tuesday. “Whereas, the parties respectfully request a five-month extension of the existing case schedule provided for in the Scheduling Order to account for these delays.”
The filing, Constantine Cannon LLP, Winston & Strawn LLP, and Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP and more added.
All of which means the yearlong case won’t see a jury seated until August 24, 2021, if and when Judge Andre Birotte Jr approves the joint request. The estimated four-week trial had been set to start in late March of next year. The request is unsurprising as the pandemic has caused havoc the past five months in the federal and state courts, with closures, restrictions and of course overall worries for all concerned about physically being in the enclosed space of a courtroom.
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UTA was involved in the antitrust case against the WGA too, but dropped out last month when the agency inked a tentative agreement to phase out of the lucrative practice of packaging. A subsequent deal between the guild and ICM Partners solidified the UTA pact. ICM was never a part of the antitrust legal actions.
At the heart of WME and CAA’s continuing battle is their contention that the WGA broke antitrust laws in requiring its members in April of last year to ax their agents. The guild drew a line in the sand and essentially said to the agencies, its either no packaging or no writers.
It should be noted that this case is separate from the WGA’s own action against the two uberagencies – which is a whole other ballgame with allegations of accounting sleights of hand and more.
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