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Wright v. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
394 F. Supp. 2d 27 (2005)
Will Wright (plaintiff) was a contestant on the game show Wheel of Fortune. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (Sony) (defendant) was the studio that produced the show. Wheel of Fortune was on a tour of United States cities and recruited local residents for each episode. Wright, a Virginia resident, auditioned for the Washington, D.C., episode. Wright traveled to D.C. for two auditions before receiving a phone call letting him know that he was selected as a contestant. On the day of taping, Wright read and signed a contestant release form containing a provision waiving any claims against Sony arising out of injury or damage caused as a result of his participation in the program. The provision was prominently displayed in capital letters. Wright was the winning contestant for the D.C. episode. The show’s host, Pat Sajak, approached Wright, wrapped his arms around Wright, and began jumping up and down. Later, Wright experienced pain in his lower back that he attributed to the incident with the host. Consequently, Wright filed suit for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress related to his personal injuries. Sony filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that Wright’s claims were barred by the contestant release form. Wright argued that the contestant release form did not clearly waive claims for personal injuries and therefore did not control.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bates, J.)
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