Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – March 12, 2014-Founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts Ltd, David Siegel and his wife Jacqueline Siegel were granted final award in the arbitration case of David A. Siegel and Jacqueline Siegel VS Lauren Greenfield, Greenfield/Evers LLC dba Evergreen Pictures, and Lauren Greenfield Photography and Queen of Versailles, LLC. The award was entered on Feb. 28, 2014 and culminated a two-year battle that the Siegel’s waged to retain their life story rights.
According to court dockets, in August of 2007, Greenfield approached the Siegels and asked them if they would be interested in being a subject for a documentary film to be directed by Greenfield and produced by Greenfield’s production company, G/E (the “Film”). Greenfield expressed to the Siegels that the Film would center on the construction of the new home the Siegels were then building in Orlando, Fla., which became commonly known as “Versailles.”
It also goes on to state that in 2009, some two years after Greenfield initially approached Siegel regarding the Film, Greenfield requested that the Siegels each sign a Release in connection with the film. However, these documents purported to give Greenfield literally every right the Siegels have to publicize their own lives, including theatrical productions, television series, reality series, made-for-television movies and made-for-home-video productions, even though the Film for which the original Appearance Releases were sought, did not, and were never intended to address any of those future prospects.
The Release would essentially have given Greenfield and companies all of the Siegels’ personal biographical and likeness rights, forever, even though such matters may have no connection whatsoever to the Film which was the sole basis for the business between the parties. In testimony before the Arbitrator, Greenfield argued that these rights could have a potential value upwards of $50 million.
“It rips the fibers of the imagination that a contract like this can be enforced,” said Co-founder and Managing Shareholder of Greenspoon Marder, Michael Marder.
The arbitration award marks a huge victory in the long-standing lawsuit with Greenfield and finds that the Life Story Releases are invalid and unenforceable to the extent to which they are inconsistent with, or purport to grant rights in excess of, those set forth in the Appearance Release.
The Siegel’s have since resumed construction on their 90,000 square foot home which is dubbed “Versailles” and have announced that it is expected to be completed in 2015, after 11 years of construction.
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