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Netflix Wins Round 1 Over Fox In Executive-Poaching Lawsuit

Deadline logo Deadline 1/21/2017 David Robb
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Netflix has prevailed in the first round of its ongoing legal battle against 20th Century Fox over the “poaching” of two Fox executives and the validity of Fox’s fixed-term contracts that prevent its employees from quitting their jobs and going to work for competitors.

In a procedural ruling Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gerald Rosenberg issued a minute order (read it here) upholding a tentative ruling he’d issued earlier this week that denied Fox’s motion to dismiss Netflix’s suit, while also ruling Netflix has standing to bring the suit.

Last September, Fox sued Netflix for “poaching” two of its executives — Marcos Waltenberg and Tara Flynn – who’d left to join Netflix while still under contract to Fox. Netflix counter-sued, claiming Fox’s fixed-term contracts violate state law.

In a statement, Fox downplayed the importance of the ruling as the case moves forward. “The court’s decision today merely allowed Netflix’s cross-complaint to move past the pleading stage. It is not a ruling on the merits of the cross-complaint, which Fox is confident will be dismissed in due course. And it has no bearing on Fox’s lawsuit against Netflix for defiantly flouting the law by soliciting and inducing Fox’s employees to break their written employment agreements.”

Attorneys for Netflix could not be reached for comment.

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