Yuuup! DAVE HESTER wins round one in in “rigging” war claims against A&E in STORAGE WARS legal battle.
As The ENQUIRER previously reported fan fave Hester was given the boot from the popular reality series amid claims that producers fixed and rigged the show to pre-determine the outcome.
Hester claimed the show’s producers were “salting the lockers” to determine winning bids and after complaining to network execs, Hester said that he was fired from his contracted $25,000 per episode for each of the 26 episodes of the show’s fourth season.
That's when Hester went to court with a bombshell lawsuit claiming he couldn't be fired for objecting to activity that he perceived as illegal under the Communications Act of 1934, which prevents broadcasters from ”rigging a contest of intellectual skill with the intent to deceive the viewing public”.
A&E reacted the lawsuit saying Hester was attempting to "convert a garden-variety breach of contract claim into a tabloid-worthy drama, in which Hester portrays himself as a crusading whistleblower," and that the First Amendment protected its show.
The Hollywood Reporter said the defendant's argument kayoed Hester's unfair business practices claim, but wasn't enough to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety — where Hester says he is due money after being fired.
A&E then argued in an anti-SLAPP motion that Hester's lawsuit interfered with their “creative decisions” about who might appear on the Storage Wars program.
"It does NOT," Judge Michael Johnson said in a tentative ruling that was issued in advance of the court hearing on Tuesday. The judge also concluded that Hester's wrongful termination claim doesn't arise from the defendants' First Amendment rights, and as such, won't be dismissed.
Hester is also suing for $750,000 in general damages, but he wants more in punitive damages.
And the judge isn't ruling it out, refusing to strike Hester's references to the Federal Communications Act and the state's Unfair Competition Law.
"The allegations concerning federal and state law and the practices are necessary components of Plaintiff’s claims," writes the judge. "Whether or not Plaintiff can prove his allegations is not the function of a motion to strike."
Hester’s legal rep Marty “The Litigator” Singer told THR, "We are looking forward to taking this case to a trial."