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Jeff Franklin alleges Bryan Behar conspired to get him removed as showrunner of Fuller House and, despite a stay of discovery triggered by an anti-SLAPP motion, an L.A. judge will let the creator depose his former colleague.
Franklin was ousted in February 2018 amid complaints about his behavior. In April he sued Behar, claiming he kept a “little black book” of alleged misdeeds and used the information to execute a coup and take over the show.
Behar in June filed a special motion to strike the complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP statute on the grounds that the dispute arises from his free speech in connection with an issue of public interest. Filing such a motion triggers an automatic stay of discovery until the court rules on it. Franklin in July asked the court to lift the stay so he could depose Behar, as well as Warner Brothers vp labor relations Silisha Platon, writer Eydie Faye and actor-producer John Stamos.
L.A. County Superior Court judge Craig D. Karlan issued a tentative ruling, which he subsequently adopted after a Dec. 5 hearing, that allows Franklin to do some of that.
Franklin is suing for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. In order to succeed on that claim, he has to show he had an economic relationship with Warners, that Behar knew about it, that Behar intentionally acted to disrupt it, that the relationship with Warners was actually disrupted and that disruption resulted in economic harm. Karlan found that Franklin is entitled to some discovery that will allow him to establish that for purposes of opposing the motion to strike, but he’s not giving him everything he asked for.
“[T]he Court finds good cause to allow Franklin to depose Silisha Platon concerning Warner Brothers’ investigation into Franklin’s behavior and why Warner Brothers ultimately ended its business relationship with Franklin, including whether Behar’s statements were germane to the end of the relationship,” writes Karlan, noting that Franklin isn’t entitled to obtain the names of the people who participated in the investigation.
Karlan allowed Franklin to depose Behar with regard to his role in the investigation and why Warners severed the business relationship. He denied Franklin’s request to depose Faye and Stamos.
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