What happens behind the cameras during home makeover shows?
Some plaintiffs, like Deena Murphy and Tim Sullivan, who appeared on HGTV’s “Love It or List It” in 2016, sued for breach of contract, claiming a manufacturing defect had, according to their complaint, “irreparably damaged” their North Carolina home after they spent $140,000 of their own money. According to court documents, they settled, but not before being sued themselves, for defamation, slander and product bashing. The case, which went to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, was ultimately dismissed. The terms of the settlement are confidential and Mr. Sullivan declined a request for an interview.
Billi Dunning and Brent Hawthorne, a Nevada couple who settled in a 2018 lawsuit against “Flip or Flop Las Vegas,” have also been sued. According to court documents, attorneys for program hosts Bristol and Aubrey Marunde said Ms Dunning and Mr Hawthorne breached the confidentiality clause of their settlement agreement, in which they received $50,000 plus a cash prize of purchase of approximately $284,000 for the house in question. Ms. Dunning and Mr. Hawthorne also declined to be interviewed.
In the complaint, in which Bristol and Aubrey Marunde appear as defendants, the Marunde wrote: “Due to the malicious actions of the plaintiffs, the defendants have suffered irreparable economic and emotional harm to their personal and professional lives and the plaintiffs have been unjustly enriched by the settlement proceeds paid by the defendants. » Their lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in early March.
Almost all contestants are required, upon signing on to a program, to agree to a strict waiver that prohibits them from speaking to the press or posting on social media, not only about the show itself, but also , according to a disclaimer reviewed by The New York Times, “any non-public information or trade secrets obtained or learned in connection with the program.”
“They put the fear of God in you when you do these shows,” Ms. King said.
When it comes to legal disputes between the shows and their competitors, what’s promised or aired is irrelevant, said Kings attorney Ryan Ellis. It all comes down to the contract.
“A contract states that certain things must be done. And production or no production, if those things aren’t done, then we have a problem,” Mr. Ellis said.
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