Producers Move to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Jenni Rivera TV Series

Competing biopics about the Mexican-American superstar are at the center of a lawsuit.
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Jenni Rivera

Within days of each other both Jenni Rivera's family and Univision announced television shows based on the life of the late singer and actress — and, unsurprisingly, one of the series is now at the center of a lawsuit.

The Univision series, Her Real Name Was Dolores, is based on a book written by Rivera's former manager Pete Salgado. Jenni Rivera Enterprises sued Salgado in September, claiming his book and participation in the series violate a non-disclosure agreement — but Salgado says the NDA was forged. Also defendants in the suit are Latin World Entertainment Holdings and co-producers BTF Media and Dhana Media.

Martin Singer, Andrew Brettler and James Sammataro, attorneys for the producers, on Friday filed a special motion to strike the complaint under California's anti-SLAPP statute, which bars lawsuits arising from constitutionally protected activity like free speech.

They argue that because California case law holds that producing television series is an act in furtherance of free speech, and Rivera's life is clearly a matter of public interest, it's up to JRE to prove it would prevail on its claim that producers induced Salgado to breach his contract. 

The defense attorneys argue that it is impossible for plaintiffs to prove that the NDA is valid, that defendants knew of the NDA and intended to induce Salgado to breach it, that Salgado did breach it, that his breach was caused by defendants and that plaintiffs suffered damage. (Read the full motion here.)

Rivera's family also previously sued her other manager, Laura Lucio, in 2014 over the autobiography Unbreakable, but the parties reached a settlement in September 2015.