Hollywood Studios Dodge Suit Involving Song Lyric Captions

Munger, Tolles & Olson represented five major motion picture studios in obtaining dismissal with prejudice in a putative class action alleging the studios misled hearing-impaired consumers by failing to caption music lyrics in motion pictures and television shows.

The plaintiffs had alleged that the studios violated California’s Unfair Competition Law, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, the Unruh Act and other state laws in advertising movies and shows as captioned for the hearing-impaired when captions do not consistently extend to the lyrics to songs that play in the movies or shows.On Sept. 28, 2016, Judge Stephen V. Wilson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of the studios. “Whether [content in movies or TV shows] should include subtitled song lyrics is quite distinct from whether consumers expect it to,” wrote Judge Wilson in his ruling.

Munger Tolles also obtained an anti-SLAPP order striking the complaint, which entitles the client to recover fees.

The attorneys who worked on the case include Melinda E. LeMoine, Rosemarie T. Ring and Usha C. Vance.