A verdict has been reached in the tedious legal battle between Dave Hester and A&E and Original Productions, the company who produces Storage Wars.
In December, Hester was fired from Storage Wars, and sued A&E and the producers of the show for wrongful termination. Hester alleged that the show was staged to a large extent, and that lockers were "salted" with merchandise prior to filming for the purposes of the show. Hester claimed that upon complaining and refusing to participate in these practices, he was unceremoniously released from his contract.
In his original suit, Hester claimed that the practice of rigging units was in direction violation of the Communications Act of 1934, which prohibits "influencing, prearranging or predetermining outcomes [in] contests of knowledge, skill or chance." Hester also purported that A&E engaged in unfair business practices. As a result of alleged "interference and manipulation of the outcomes of the auctions shown" on Storage Wars, he says producers made it appear that he is less skillful than his competition, which in turn has hurt his storage auctions business outside of the show.
Shortly thereafter, A&E filed an anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) motion against Hester. The judge on the case, LA Superior Court judge Michael Johnson agreed. Johnson stated that unfair competition only relates to commercial speech, and "Storage Wars" falls under expressive speech and is protected by the First Amendment. Johnson said he could not rule what A&E could or could not program on their network. This in effect limited Hester's five claim lawsuit.
Now, an official ruling on the case has been handed down and things did not end well for The Mogul. Hester has been ordered to pay $122,692 in legal fees to both entities. $96,735 to A&E and $25,957 to Original Productions.
Personally, I'm prettying down in the dumps about Hester being MIA from current and future episodes. His signature "YEP!" defined the show as it is known today it's a shame that both parties couldn't work it out!
Photo Courtesy of A&E (aetv.com)
Dave Hester recently contacted us with information on the the ensuing legal case.
A judgement has been made on only 1 of 5 complaints, and the overall case is still pending.
As new information is released, we'll be sure to keep updating you on all the news!
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