A Los Angeles judge today trimmed a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former “Storage Wars” cast member who alleges the program is rigged, but the plaintiff’s attorney said the heart of his client’s complaint remains intact.
Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson tossed David Hester’s unfair business practices claim.
He agreed with defense attorneys that it would have been a violation of defendant A&E Television Network’s First Amendment rights if he issued an injunction banning the cable channel from engaging in practices the suit alleges are deceptive.
Johnson said issuing the order would be tantamount to telling A&E how to conduct the show.
“I would be saying, ‘Don’t do your program this way; the Superior Court is telling you it is wrong content for your program,”’ Johnson said.
Hester’s attorney, Martin Singer, said he will likely appeal.
He said the unfair business practices claim was included in the suit to benefit the public so they know the program is not staged.
But Singer said that despite today’s ruling, Hester can still move forward with the majority of his claims.
Johnson also ruled that Hester’s wrongful termination claim will have to be revised with more details if the allegation is to move forward.
He gave Hester’s lawyers 20 days to file an amended complaint.
Hester sued Dec. 11, alleging that although “Storage Wars” is put forth as a non-fiction show depicting an accurate portrayal of the abandoned storage locker auction process, nearly every aspect of the series is “faked.”
The complaint alleges that A&E deceived viewers by planting valuable items or memorabilia on the reality show, including an old newspaper announcing the death of Elvis Presley.
Hester alleges that when he complained to producers and told them that “salting” and staging the storage unit was possibly illegal, he was fired.