Flip This House Lawsuit Continued

As I mentioned in last week’s post about the A&E television show Flip This House, Richard Davis and Trademark Properties have sued A&E. Richard claims that A&E essentially stole his idea for the show and never paid him either for the idea or for the first season in which he participated.

A&E had the case removed from state court to the Federal District Court for South Carolina. Naturally, A&E denies nearly every allegation made by the plaintiffs. The network denies that any agreement similar to the one alleged by Richard and Trademark in the complaint was ever reached. They instead say the following occurred:

The first season of .Flip This House. was produced under an agreement between AETN and Departure Films, an independent production company, and a separate agreement between Departure Films and Davis. Neither agreement provided Davis with any rights in the show, any control of the show or any compensation. Davis initially did not seek or receive any direct compensation for his participation in the show because he viewed .Flip This House. as a powerful form of advertising for Trademark, which he hoped to expand or franchise on a national basis.

After a successful first season, the parties allegedly came to a new agreement about season two. Per A&E’s court filings:

“Flip This House” did well in the ratings, leading to a mutual desire among the parties to do a second season. At that point, Davis requested an agreement directly with AETN. Negotiations followed, resulting in a firm agreement (the .Season Two Contract.). The Season Two Contract provided, in relevant part, that Davis would participate as on-air talent in a second season of .Flip This House.; that AETN would continue to own and control the show in every sense; and that Davis for the first time would have the opportunity to receive certain compensation.

The network claims that the agreement was reached verbally, A&E began making preparations and starting filming, but that Richard Davis never signed the paperwork.

A counterclaim against Richard and Trademark has been filed by A&E, alleging that Trademark didn’t honor the terms of their agreement for season two of Flip This House. This meant A&E had to find a replacement cast for the show. Specifically, A&E alleges:

The central allegations in Davis.s complaint bear no relationship to reality because AETN and Davis never made any agreement that remotely resembles the terms he alleges. It has always been understood and agreed by all parties, including Davis and Trademark, that AETN exercises final creative authority over .Flip This House,. owns all legal rights in the show, and receives and controls all revenues associated with the show. AETN and Davis reached only one agreement, and Davis broke it. They agreed that Davis would appear in a second season of .Flip This House,. with AETN remaining in its position of creative, economic and legal ownership and control. Davis, however, walked away from this agreement without explanation and publicly announced that he was affiliating himself with a competing network. His conduct amounts to breach of contract or, in the alternative, breach of the duty of good faith.

8 thoughts on “Flip This House Lawsuit Continued”

  1. Thanks for the update. Two things. What does this mean for those of us who just want to watch the show? Who is right?

    I tend to come down on the side of Davis and his team, mostly because I find it typical behavior for a television network to stab people in the back and make off with the profits. But I also understand that Davis likes that money, and may have asked for more than he should have.

    I will be commenting on this situation on my own blog, but it will be from the standpoint of a fan, not an expert in fraud or conflict resolution. If you don’t mind, I would like to link back to your site for more information.

  2. For those of us who want to watch the show.. We’ll either have to suffer through the horrible replacement casts (San Antonio and Atlanta) or hope that Richard’s show does air on a different channel.

    My opinion on this case…

    I think Richard has an uphill battle. He’s saying they had a verbal contract, which A&E denies. It’s his word against theirs. This is precisely why so many contracts are WRITTEN. Richard is going to say they had an agreement. A&E is going to say they had lots of discussions and negotiations, but never came to a real agreement, which is why there isn’t a written contract.

    On the other hand, A&E is claiming there was a verbal contract for the second season. (There wasn’t one for the first, but there is one for the second?) Can A&E really have it both ways?

    My guess on the outcome: A&E pays Richard a small sum of money and he goes on to produce his show with another network, free and clear.

  3. Davis should have know better, being the buisness person he is. He should have got all of this in writing. A&E has more money and attorney’s, then davis will ever have !…but this is from a guy who thought he did not need any construction permits for a flip and got him in to a lot of trouble. I think he felt then and now, that he is a bit bigger then his britches !

    Pack it in Davis. Keep doing what you know best in S.C. but for god sake, get those permits!

  4. I have to disagree with Steve’s comment that “A&E has more money and attorney?..s, (than) davis will ever have”. Trademark properties is worth a HUGE amount of $$$$$ and Richard Davis apparently has quite the team of lawyers backing him. It’s also interesting that Steve comments on Davis’ lack of permits in a particular ep: you do have to remember that this is television, and reality TV or not, television is SCRIPTED, and my bet is that the whole “no permits” ep was just a script hook and not reality. As someone involved in the entertainment industry, take it from me, there is really no such thing as true “reality” tv because no network is going to take a chance on investing millions of dollars in unplanned/unscripted filming. As far as the Trademark/Davis vs. A&E lawsuit, personally I think the lawsuit will wallow in court for years with both sides at a stalemate since both have plenty of money & lawyers, and because so much apparently involved verbal agreements. But for us fans of Richard and the Trademark crew, the latest news is that their jump to TLC will begin Saturday April 21, 2007 at 9PM Eastern Time on “The Real Deal”. I really hope this show finally hits the airwaves: the new casts of Flip This House turn my stomach, and what’s with adding yet a 3rd crew of flippers “New Haven” to the about to begin 3rd season of Flip This House? Considering that, and how it’s interesting that A&E constantly repeats the “Richard” eps of Flip this House, obviously Armando et al just aren’t cutting it. And so the soap opera continues…. 😉

  5. I blame A&E for the Trademark debacle. I am sure Richard is probably a bear to deal with, but you know big TV wanted more than he was willing to give.
    I also am shocked by the fact that the Montelongo’s are still around. Aren’t people tired of them yet?
    Loved the new crew in New Haven, CT. I have heard the head guy Than Merrill speak before about investing at a real estate seminar. He is a phenomenal speaker and teacher.
    I hope Richard and the gang win the battle against A&E and I also hope the new crew is shown more!

  6. Hurray, The Real Deal is on and brings back our favorites. Ginger is still willing to walk around in those spiked heels amid the rough, the messy and the newly remodeled. Unreal. Richard C. Davis , and the new young fellow… who will try to not get overwhelmed by it all….so glad to have them on the tube. We stopped watching Flip This House, as we couldn’t get interested in the first two groups, so gave up. Saw re-runs of Richard Davis and Inc., until that got rediculous. Again, our family is so glad they are back!!!!!

  7. DOES A&E HONESTLY THINK A JUDGE WILL BUY THE IDEA THAT RICHARD AND HIS TEAM WERE DOING THIS FOR NO MONEY? I DON’T THINK SO. RICHARD SOUGHT OUT 3 DIFFERENT NETWORKS TO RUN A PILOT FOR THE SHOW AND HE WANTS NOTHING IN RETURN? THE MAN DID NOT BECOME A MULTI MILLIONAIRE BY COMING UP WITH IDEAS AND THEN GIVING THEM AWAY FOR FREE! A&E MADE A LOT OF MONEY OFF OF SEASON 1 OF “FLIP THIS HOUSE” I BELIEVE RICHARD DESERVES SOME COMPENSATION FOR THIS SHOW.

  8. Bottom line: I like the show and all the folks in it. Even Jack, the little white dog. The other Flip shows are o.k., but the Crew from S.C. are the best.

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