Judge sides with network in its ongoing legal tangle with former star Dave Hester
A&E and "Storage Wars" have taken the first round in their ongoing legal tangle with former star Dave Hester, who claimed in a lawsuit that the reality show is staged.
In a ruling Tuesday, Judge Michael Johnson of Los Angeles Superior Court sided with the network on a couple of points, throwing out the "unfair business practices" portion of Hester's complaint on First Amendment grounds.
Johnson also sided with A&E in ruling that an injunction against the series would violate the network's First Amendment rights.
Hester (pictured) filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in December, claiming that he had been fired for complaining that the show had been rigged. Specifically, Hester alleges, the show's producers plant valuable items in storage lockers, which competitors then bid on, supposedly without knowing what's inside them.
In response, A&E filed an anti-SLAPP motion to strike the complaint, stating that the show enjoys First Amendment protections.
Hester's legal team issued a response, claiming that those protections don't apply in this case, claiming that A&E was violating the Communications Act of 1934, which states that a person shall not "supply any contestant in a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge or intellectual skill any special and secret assistance whereby the outcome of such contest will be in whole or in part prearranged or predetermined."
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