Entertainment & Sports Law

$4M Verdict, Oral Contract Upheld for Creator of 'Flip This House'


A 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel has upheld a $4 million jury verdict awarded to a South Carolina real estate broker who created the concept for the A&E reality show Flip This House and had an oral contract to split revenues.

Pleased with the Richmond, Va.-based court’s 2-1 opinion (PDF), the lawyer for Richard Davis said his client deserved to be compensated and that A&E had breached its contract and refused to pay money due, the National Law Journal reports.

According to the court, Davis proposed the concept for Flip This House, a show that follows the activities of real estate investors from purchase through rehab and resale, in 2003. He submitted a pilot episode to several networks and found a home with A&E.

He went on to help produce several episodes, all on the basis of an oral contract to equally split the net revenues from the show. Davis sued in 2006 to force A&E and its affiliates to make good on the oral contract. Davis maintained that when he outlined the deal over the phone to Charles Norlander—A&E’s director of lifestyle programming—Norlander agreed to his terms when he responded, “OK, OK, I get it.”

A jury agreed and awarded him $4 million at trial, half the revenue of the show’s first season.

A&E appealed, arguing that Davis lacked evidence that the there was an oral agreement. A divided 4th Circuit panel sided with Davis.

In her dissent, Judge Allyson Duncan agrees that Davis ought to be compensated, but quibbles with the majority’s position that a reasonable person would interpret a remark such as the disputed “OK, OK, I get it,” as anything more than an acknowledgment that the person understands what’s being said.

Previous:
Woman Sues Match.com, Wants Screening for Sexual Predators

Next:
Virginia Tech May Appeal Federal Fine from 2007 Shootings


We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy. Flag comment for moderator.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.