Netflix Emerges Victorious in $10M Lawsuit Over Film It Refused to Carry

Filmmaker claimed that Netflix was guilty of “the most egregious act ever committed by a film distributor”

Netflix scored a legal victory over a filmmaker who sued the video distribution company after it refused to carry his film.

A U.S. district court judge chucked the lawsuit filed by T. Allen Chey with prejudice on Monday, after Netflix filed a motion to dismiss.

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In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court in central California in July, Chey claimed that Netflix had damaged him in a variety of ways by refusing to carry his film “Suing the Devil,” starring Malcolm McDowell, Tom Sizemore and Corbin Bernsen, while also putting the film on its page with a “Save” button.

Chey, who sought “$10,000,0000 minimum damages” in the suit, contended that the theatrical release of the film suffered because customers decided that they would “wait until it comes out on Netflix,” based on the appearance of the film on the site with the save button.

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Chey further argued that he lost revenue because “so many customers would have bought the DVD or paid for VOD had the customers known it would not be available on Netflix.”

The filmmaker went on to estimate that Netflix had caused “perhaps hundreds of thousands of potential buyers” of “Suing the Devil” to pass on purchasing, based on the belief that it would be added to Netflix.

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Chey called Netflix’s alleged actions “the most egregious act ever committed by a film distributor,” noting that he was “extremely shocked” when Netflix took a final pass on “Suing the Devil.”

In its own legal papers, Netflix argued against the eight claims made by Chey in his initial complaint, contending, in part, that “the complaint does not allege that Netflix made any specific promise that it would buy copies of ‘Suing the Devil.’”

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Netflix also argued that creating a “Save” entry for the film, and declining unsolicited offers to carry the movie, amounts to “ordinary business operations and decisions which are standard practice in the film industry.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.