A&E’s Appeal to Flip This Verdict Gets the Boot

     RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – The 4th Circuit upheld a $4 million jury award to a real estate broker for his role in creating the reality television show “Flip This House.”

     Richard C. Davis and his company, Trademark Properties, originally filed a breach of contract suit in a South Carolina Court of Common Pleas in July 2006, seeking half the revenue from the A&E series, which he said was based on a concept he devised.
     Davis said his case, which was subsequently removed to the Charleston-based District Court, presented issues of “fraud and theft of property rights.”
     As conceived by Davis, the show, then titled “Worst to First,” would feature him and certain Trademark Properties staffers as they locate, acquire, refurbish and sell houses.
     Davis bankrolled and produced a pilot, which he presented to representatives of A&E in 2004.
     A month later, Davis said he and an A&E executive entered into an oral contract in which Davis and the network would be equal owners of the show, and would share equally in all net revenues and proceeds generated by the project.
     Though the network promised to prepare written documentation of the agreement, it ultimately failed to do so.
     In 2008, a federal jury found that Davis had a binding oral deal with Charles Nordlander, even though the terms were not in writing.
     Davis appeared in 13 episodes of the show, which ran for four seasons.
     A&E appealed after the jury awarded Davis $4 million in damages, but the federal appeals court affirmed the verdict Monday.

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