Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Weil, Gotshal & Manges Client Creative Artists Agency Wins Summary Judgment in Discrimination Case

(January 6, 2005, Weil Gotshal Press Release)


New York, January 6, 2005 - In a six-year litigation against concert promoters who alleged antitrust and civil rights violations, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has been granted a complete victory by the US District Court. The 173-page summary judgment represents a complete vindication of CAA’s business conduct relating to the promotion of concerts by present and former CAA artists. Plaintiffs had sought damages in excess of $500 million.

The case began in 1998 when five concert promotion corporations—Rowe Entertainment, Inc., BAB Productions, Inc., Sun Song Productions, Inc., Summitt Management Corporation, and Lee King Productions—and five individuals, each of whom is the sole shareholder and president or chief executive of his respective company, filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against CAA, seven other leading talent agencies and 26 concert promoters. The plaintiffs, who are African American, alleged that the defendants had conspired to exclude them from the bid process for concerts featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry, that in effect, talent agencies were steering marquee acts away from the plaintiffs in favor of the other, named defendants. Several of the defendants settled during the course of litigation.

In its Opinion and Order granting summary judgment the Court wrote, “Plaintiffs have provided no evidence in any submission to this Court of any acts of discrimination against them based on race by CAA.” On the antitrust claims, the Court held, “taking the evidence as a whole, no showing of conspiracy is plausible and no reasonable jury could infer a conspiracy in restraint of trade from the evidence Plaintiffs have provided.” Aside from delivering a sound victory to CAA and its co-defendants, the case was noteworthy for being the first to decide significant e-discovery issues, including a seminal Magistrate Judge ruling that plaintiffs would bear the costs of all discovery from electronic media. Several Daubert motions were also made concerning expert testimony, in one instance granting CAA’s motion to disqualify as “junk science” the opinion of an expert who wanted to introduce sociological issues to the case. The parties engaged in more than two years of discovery in which more than 55 persons were deposed, millions of documents were produced and expert reports were exchanged.

Employment litigation practice group head Jeffrey Klein led the Weil Gotshal team, assisted by associates Andrea Berner and Philip Repash and former associates Pierre Armand—now an Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York—and Beverly Frank. Former Weil Gotshal partner Jeffrey Kessler, now of Dewey Ballantine LLP, served as co-counsel.
   
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