SEG, Inc. v. Stillman

2003 WL 21197133 (2003)

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SEG, Inc. v. Stillman

California Court of Appeal
2003 WL 21197133 (2003)

Facts

In 2000, Stacey Stillman (defendant) was selected to be a contestant on the reality television show Survivor. Survivor was produced by CBS and SEG, Inc. (plaintiff). During the application process, Stillman signed an agreement promising not to disclose any information concerning the show and its production. Eventually, Stillman was voted off the show by fellow contestants and therefore did not win the $1 million prize. Stillman was later informed by fellow contestants that executive producer Mark Burnett had told other contestants to vote her off. Stillman discussed such allegations with a writer, Peter Lance, who was in the process of drafting a book about the Survivor show. Stillman filed suit against CBS, SEG, and Burnett, alleging that they had violated a federal law prohibiting the rigging of gameshows. Stillman then distributed copies of the complaint on the internet and to the media. Consequently, SEG filed an action, alleging breach of written contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, defamation, product disparagement, and seeking injunctive relief. Stillman filed a motion to strike certain counts of the complaint. The trial court ultimately found that SEG had provided a prima facie showing supporting its defamation claim, but it granted the motion to strike as to the breach-of-contract and breach-of-implied-covenant claims. Both parties appealed the order. SEG argued that it had presented sufficient evidence to prove that Stillman’s disclosures to Peter Lance, her disclosures to the media, and her filing suit constituted breaches of her agreement not to disclose any information concerning the show.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Croskey, J.)

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