X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
A federal appeals court has affirmed a $4 million jury verdict for a South Carolina real estate broker who claims to have created the concept for Flip This House, a reality television show on A&E. “We’re pleased that the appellate court let the jury verdict stand,” said a lawyer for the broker, William “Billy” Wilkins, former chief judge of the 4th Circuit, in a prepared statement. “The creator of Flip This House, Richard Davis, deserved to be compensated for the work. A&E breached its contract and refused to pay the money due.” Wilkins is located in the Greenville, S.C., office of Nexsen Pruet, which is based in Columbia, S.C. A call to A&E’s lawyer, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, now a partner at New York’s Debevoise & Plimpton, was referred to A&E spokesman Michael Feeney. Feeney did not return a call for comment. Flip This House follows the trials and travails of various real estate investors who purchase and renovate homes, then flip them to sell at a profit. Davis alleged that he came up with the idea for the show in 2003 and submitted a pilot to several television networks, including A&E, the following year, according to the 4th Circuit’s opinion. He discussed developing a series from his idea while on a telephone call with A&E’s director of lifestyle programming, Charles Norlander, on June 3, 2004, the opinion says. When Davis suggested that the two equally split the net revenues from the show, Norlander replied: “Okay, okay, I get it.” In 2006, Davis and his company, Trademark Properties Inc., sued A&E Television Networks; the show’s production company, Departure Films; ABC Inc.; and NBC Universal, alleging that the telephone conversation with Norlander constituted an oral agreement and that A&E, which never put the deal in writing, neglected to pay him net revenues from the show. He sued for $7.5 million in damages. A federal jury in South Carolina awarded him $4 million – or half the net revenue of the first season of Flip This House. A&E appealed, arguing that Davis lacked evidence of an oral agreement based on the telephone call. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 opinion on April 11, disagreed. “We can safely say that statement does not objectively convey unambiguous and unequivocal acceptance of Plaintiff’s offer,” wrote Senior Judge Bobby Baldock, sitting by designation from the 10th Circuit, who was joined by Judge Robert King in the opinion. “We cannot say, however, that such a statement made in a certain tone of voice or in a given context could not plausibly mean ‘I accept.’” Justice Allyson Duncan dissented, finding there was no contract. “Because I do not believe a reasonable person would interpret ‘Okay, okay, I get it,’ alone as acceptance, or indeed as anything other than ‘I understand what you are saying,’ I must respectfully dissent,” she wrote. Amanda Bronstad can be contacted at [email protected].

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.