WGA Drops State Lawsuit Against Agencies, Files Antitrust and RICO Claims in Federal Court

Writers Guild will consolidate litigation against WME, CAA and UTA into federal lawsuit

The Writers Guild of America announced on Monday that it is withdrawing its California lawsuit against the top agencies in Hollywood while adding antitrust and racketeering charges to a federal lawsuit against William Morris Endeavor, Creative Artists Agency, and United Talent Agency.

The new charges filed in U.S. District Court argue that packaging fees — payments made by a studio to agencies in exchange for packaging talent for a project — violate federal antitrust laws and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The lawsuit also responds to antitrust lawsuits filed by the three agencies against the WGA, saying that arguments that the WGA have engaged in an “unlawful group boycott” by having its members leave agencies en masse to pressure them into eliminating packaging fees are “baseless.”

“Over the years the major agencies have repeatedly broken federal antitrust law by conspiring to fix the price of packaging fees,” WGA West President David A. Goodman said in a statement. “Their current campaign to preserve the packaging fee model by strong-arming smaller agencies also violates the law. We are simply asking the court to stop these agencies from illegally enriching themselves at the expense of writers.”

More to come…

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