Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Appellant production company brought an action against respondent distributor for declaratory relief in connection with a motion picture distribution agreement. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) rendered a judgment in favor of the distributor, and the production company appealed.

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Overview

The production company agreed to produce two motion pictures and it licensed the distributor to market the motion pictures all over the world. The production company contended that the license agreement did not authorize the distributor to enter into sublicenses for distribution in foreign countries and that the trial court erred in excluding parol evidence designed to establish and to resolve an ambiguity in the contract concerning the matter. The court determined that the language related to sublicenses did not present a patent ambiguity because the phraseology was not susceptible to two different meanings. Therefore, the court held that the trial court did not err in excluding the parol evidence in question. Further, the trial court did not err in holding that the distributor acted in good faith and that the distributor was not a fiduciary except with respect to accounting for rentals received from its sublicensees.

Outcome

The court affirmed the judgment.

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