Court-Ordered Mediation in the Future for Writers and Agencies Dispute in Hollywood
A judge has set a distant deadline of December 25th for the court-ordered mediation between the Writers Guild of American and the nation’s three largest talent agencies. Gail Migdal Title, an experienced entertainment lawyer will oversee the process, but many in the industry are skeptical that the mediation will be successful in part, because it has been scheduled for so far in the future.
Additionally, the federal judge overseeing the case has yet to make a ruling on the agencies’ motion to dismiss the case entirely.
The Writers’ Guild is expected to ask Hollywood studios to freeze out the three agencies in question. The parties have also been unable to even agree on whether they have recently discussed any of the issues in question.
Despite the appointment of a mediator and the court order for mediation, no mediation date has been scheduled. It is also expected that no date will be set until a ruling on the request to dismiss has been made. The judge overseeing the request was torn on some aspects of the complex case that includes issues related to labor law, antitrust doctrine, and state statues. It took the judge a month to rule on a previous motion in the case and nobody has any idea how long it could take for the latest ruling.
Additionally, the Writers’ Guild released its demands in early February, which outlined its priorities in the upcoming negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. That contract is due to expire on May 1st. Among the demands listed was a requirement that signatory companies only negotiate with agents franchised by the Writers Guild.