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Star alleges 'Storage Wars' is rigged, wrongful termination

A former star of the popular reality TV program Storage Wars that's based in L.A. moved forward with his claim that the show was rigged. A judge allowed the lawsuit, in which David Hester alleged both that valuable items were planted in storage containers for the show, and also that he was the victim of wrongful termination. Hester claimed that he was fired after complaining about the purported fixing to the show's producers. He was to have made $25,000 per episode for each of the 26 episodes in the program's fourth season, or $650,000. He was seeking $750,000 in general damages and further money in punitive damages in the suit.

The basis for Hester's lawsuit was said to be the Communications Act of 1934. The Act makes it illegal for producers to rig any contest relying on intellectual skill, if such rigging is done with intent to mislead the public. Hester said he was wrongfully discharged because it is against the law to fire someone for objecting to an illegal activity in the workplace.

The show's network, A&E, retorted that Hester was trying to turn a garden variety breach of contract claim into a drama worthy of tabloid coverage. They alleged that he was just angling to get more air time on the show. Hester countered that he was already going to be paid for the 26 episodes of the fourth season, so it was assumed that he would already be appearing in each episode.

Wrongful termination can derail a career. A lawyer with experience in fighting wrongful dismissal may be able to help those who have been wrongfully discharged in Los Angeles. Such an attorney may look into any retaliation by employers or abuse of at-will termination rules.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "Fired 'Storage Wars' Star Wins Round in Rigging Lawsuit", Eriq Gardner, September 03, 2013

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