Subscription Center  

News

“It's our position that the non-compete to which Penske [Media] refers is invalid, is unenforceable, and it violates California law.”


Venable partner William Briggs was quoted in the Hollywood Reporter and TheWrap on December 13, 2013 about his representation of Nikki Finke in an upcoming arbitration with Penske Media. Finke was a founder and writer for the Deadline Hollywood blog until November 5 when it was announced she would no longer write for the website. Penske Media is attempting to enforce a non-compete clause to prevent Finke from writing until at least 2016. The company claims Finke agreed to the non-compete clause in 2009 when they bought her website. Finke, who says she plans to start a new website as soon as possible, is also pursuing counterclaims for “injuries that Penske caused her.”

“It's our position that the non-compete to which Penske refers is invalid, is unenforceable, and it violates California law,” Briggs told the Hollywood Reporter. “There is simply no case law nor statutory law that supports Penske's position. Any notion or theory that there might be a joint partnership between Penske and Nikki is complete fiction. There was a written employment agreement between the two.” Commenting on the possibility of Finke’s tweets being considered writing banned by the non-compete clause, Briggs said, “Nikki has substantial First Amendment rights -- rights which cannot be undermined by Penske's attempt to silence her.”

Speaking about the non-compete with TheWrap, Briggs said, “Even if Penske has an enforceable non-compete agreement — doubtful — with Ms. Finke, it is only valid until June 2014.”