Dick Clark Productions has won the lawsuit that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association launched against the company over who owns the broadcast rights to the Golden Globes awards show.
In a ruling issued Monday, Judge Howard A. Matz decided in favor of Dick Clark Productions. The suit was filed against Dick Clark Productions and its parent company, Red Zone Capital Partners II, by the HFPA in 2010, leading to a particularly ugly legal battle.
The HFPA alleged that Dick Clark Productions had negotiated a new contract to air the Golden Globes with NBC without the HFPA's consent, and that the negotiations potentially cost HFPA millions of dollars, because the rights were not put out for bid to other networks.
Dick Clark Productions countered that an amendment in its contract allows it to retain the rights to the Golden Globes broadcast each time it reaches a new deal with NBC. DCP also asserted that it didn't require the HFPA"s blessing to extend its agreement with NBC.
Judge Matz sided with Dick Clark Productions' interpretation of the facts in his ruling Monday, saying, "Defendants are entitled to a judicial declaration that the 1993 Amendment grants DCP the option to extend its rights to produce and distribute the Golden Globe Awards show beyond 2005 for 'any extensions, renewals, substitutions or modifications of the NBC Agreement,' with or without HFPA's approval.
"Because the plain meaning and the intrinsic evidence support DCP's interpretation of the 1993 Amendment, dcp's counterclaim for declaratory relief is granted and HFPA's claim for declaratory relief is denied," Judge Matz's ruling added.
"We're incredibly pleased by the result," Dick Clark Productions' lawyer, Marty Katz, told TheWrap. "The decision reflects very careful thought by Judge Matz and is entirely consistent with the overwhelming factual record.
"We're incredibly pleased that our client's rights have been vindicated," Katz added. "The opinion is very thorough and well thought out."
Dick Clark Productions added, "We are pleased the court affirmed our contract and look forward to working with the HFPA and NBC to nurture and expand the Golden Globes franchise for years to come."
The HFPA's attorney in the matter has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.
Though DCP ultimately prevailed in the suit, the company didn't come out of the situation without its lumps. During the trial, Dick Clark Productions CEO Mark Shapiro was compelled to admit on the stand that he used misleading statements while negotiating with NBC, leading network executives to believe that he had HFPA's blessing to extend the agreement.
At one point, asked by Judge Matz if he had made false statements while negotiating with the network, Shapiro replied, "Right."