Dave Hester’s Anti-Slapp Motion

A SLAPP motion is a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. Essentially, the motion assists in burying someone in legal fees, dooming their case. . .

Dave Hester, from Storage Wars, recently lost a lawsuit with A&E and the issue of SLAPP came up in the process:

Storage Wars ex-star David Hester must now pick up some of A&E’s legal bill after losing the first round of a lawsuit that contends the highly rated reality TV series is rigged. At a hearing Friday, a Los Angeles judge ordered Hester to pay $122,692 of the defendants’ legal costs.

In December, Hester sued A&E and Original Productions with allegations that producers planted items of memorabilia that influenced the outcome of the auction-themed show. Hester says he was let go after complaining, which his attorney says constitutes wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Further, Hester claimed that A&E and Original engaged in unfair business practices insofar as producers allegedly making it appear that he was less skillful than his competition and thus prompting other vendors to stop doing business with his shops.

A&E responded by saying that Hester was attempting to portray himself as a crusading whistleblower when really he was upset at how contract negotiations were going to return to the series. The defendants also brought an anti-SLAPP motion, saying that Storage Wars was protected by the First Amendment and that Hester was unlikely to win.

In March, A&E was successful in getting the judge to reject the unfair business practices claim. The lawsuit proceeds, but because A&E was victorious on its anti-SLAPP motion, it was entitled to attorney fees and costs.

The defendants submitted $181,457 — or $138,194 for A&E, incurred by its attorneys at Davis Wright Tremaine; and $43,263 for Original, incurred by its attorneys at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp.

A&E was paying its lawyers hourly rates ranging from $260 to $485 to work on the case while Original was paying $370 to $485. (There were separate expenses for paralegals.)

To beat Hester’s claim, the defendants argued that courts have only applied “unfair business practices” to commercial speech, not expressive works like television programs.

The defendant’s lawyers including THR Power Lawyer Kelli Sager collectively spent 354 hours on the anti-SLAPP motion, which included having to refute Hester’s contention that A&E’s press release constituted commercial speech. Plus, they say they spent 79 hours for the fee motion.

It is an interesting process, fighting or trying to level a SLAPP allegation.

I Met Dave Hester!

Dave Hester, Storage Wars
Dave Hester, Storage Wars

I forgot to share this San Diego tidbit from last week. When at my first swap meet in years (where some friends were selling some ceramic goods), I met Dave Hester from Storage Wars.

There he was, on Sports Arena Blvd in San Diego, with a stall at the swap meet. He was hawking shirts, hats, and stickers with Yuuup on them. He also had old junk, presumably from storage lockers, out for a dollar. And folks were buying it!

I told him I liked him on the show and that we argued in my office about the other chowderheads. Like Jarrod and Brandi, both of whom I find annoying. (But the Senior Chief, who I work with, likes. . .)

Dave said something very interesting: If you love me, I am in your heart. And if you don’t love me, I am in your mind. And I win either way. Good quote.

I asked him if the show was coming back and he said its season premiere was in a couple of days. Of course, he did not mention the massive lawsuit he was in with the producers:

“Storage Wars” may have a real war brewing with one of its stars.

Dave Hester, a former cast member, has filed a lawsuit against the show, according to RadarOnline.

In the lawsuit, Hester is claiming the series is fake, and he says when he made complaints to the network about the staged portions of the show he was fired, Radar reported.

Dave Hester, Barry Weiss, Brandi Passante, and Jarrod Schulz
Dave Hester, Barry Weiss, Brandi Passante, and Jarrod Schulz

The popular A&E reality show follows auctioneers and buyers as they bid on various storage units blindly and then raid their purchases in hopes of finding treasures. According to Radar, Hester claims show producers plant valuable items in the units to presumably make the show more interesting.

The suit also claims the show rigs the bidding process. In one part of Hester’s suit, he goes so far as to say the network paid for one female cast member’s plastic surgery to increase her sex appeal and make her more appealing to viewers.

Good luck, Dave, in everything you do. I know your business will be successful. . .

Yuuup, Thank Your Lucky Stars

Ever think your life is predictable? This may cheer you up. Other folks have some serious problems to deal with. For example, these two:

Trey Songz and Dave Hester

Not that I have any clue who these geniuses may be. The problem, the roast beef they have with each other? Yuuup:

A legal battle has erupted between rapper Trey Songz and Dave Hester, star of the TV auction show Storage Wars, over the right to yell “Yuuup!” Songz says “Yuuup!” became his “signature sound” long before Hester began using it. Hester insists that Songz’s “yuuup” is “distinct and different from Hester’s more monosyllabic-sounding, guttural auction-bidding phrase.”

Seriously? (Or for my two tweener readers: omg srsly?) Iran’s racing toward the bomb, we have a momentous election looming, the world is teetering, and China is. . . And y’all yapping ’bout yuuup? Daaamn. (That one is mine!) Daaamn©.