Former Olympic figure skater Oksana Baiul filed a lawsuit against LTL’s client NBC Sports, seeking $10M in royalty payments for the 1994 “Nutcracker on Ice” television special. Since 1995, Baiul claimed NBC denied her royalties from the performance despite an alleged agreement written by the network.
This wasn’t the first lawsuit by Baiul to recoup money from the performance. She originally sued NBC over the allegedly owed payments in New York in 2013, but the suit was dismissed in July 2016. In the current action, NBC Sports, represented by LTL’s Prashanth Chennakesavan, sought to dismiss Baiul’s lawsuit on the grounds that the claims had already been adjudicated in a previous matter and were time-barred. Judge Dean D. Pregerson of the District Court for the Central District of California agreed with the defendants, dismissing Baiul’s lawsuit. Baiul sought relief from the Ninth Circuit, hoping to revive her lawsuit.
In a unanimous ruling issued on Apr. 27, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not err in dismissing Baiul’s lawsuit. The Court found that the dismissal of the New York case was a final ruling on the merits and that Baiul’s current lawsuit was barred due to claim preclusion.