By Ronald J. Nessim (guest blogger from Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim,Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow)
Historically, disputes between talent and the major studios were litigated in a public courtroom where the judge and jury had no inherent biases for or against talent or the studio. Increasingly, however, the major studios have increasingly required talent – as a condition of obtaining employment – to agree to arbitrate all disputes and that they do so before one particular arbitration provider: JAMS. This practice is part of a larger national trend of corporations insisting on mandatory arbitration provisions in their contracts with consumers and employees and a resulting concern over repeat player/provider bias.
Talent is increasingly concerned that these arbitrations are not a fair forum since the studios – and not the talent – are the repeat players and JAMS is the repeat provider. And financial benefits tend to accrue to the repeat provider and its arbitrators if the studios are happy with the results. A large part of this concern is based on the lack of transparency in the results of these arbitrations.
I have seen firsthand through my representation of talent how the public court system is a more fair and favorable forum for talent.
I recently wrote an article with Scott Goldman, an associate at our firm, that was published in the UCLA Entertainment Law Review called “Mandatory Arbitration in Talent-Studio Contracts and Proposed Areas for Improvement” that addresses this subject. You can click here for a copy of the article.
About Ronald J. Nessim (Principal at Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim,Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow)
Ron Nessim has been on the winning side of more than 40 criminal and civil trials and arbitrations. He has argued numerous appeals in both federal and state courts, including in the United States Supreme Court and has been at the center of numerous precedent-setting, high-profile entertainment, general civil and white-collar criminal law cases.
Nessim was recently selected by his peers as the 2014-15 Los Angeles Criminal Defense: White Collar “Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America and as a leading entertainment litigator in Variety’s 2014 Legal Impact Report. He has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America since 2006, Southern California Super Lawyers since 2004 and several other publications of leading lawyers.
For more information about Nessim, please click here.