A&E Television Networks and the producers of Storage Wars are appealing a judge's ruling that cast member and former Costa Mesa thrift store owner Dave Hester can pursue a wrongful termination claim. The Los Angeles Superior Court judge's Sept. 3 ruling was in response to Hester's lawsuit alleging, among other things, he was fired for complaining the show was rigged.
Judge Michael Johnson, who previously tossed Hester's unfair business practices claim, discounted the argument of A&E and Original Productions that the wrongful termination allegation infringes on their First Amendment rights. Both defendants filed court papers last week stating that they will ask the 2nd District Court of Appeal to review Johnson's ruling on that claim, reports City News Service's Bill Hetherman.
Hester, the former proprietor of Newport Consignment Gallery N Rags to Riches thrift store in Costa Mesa, was known in the early Storage Wars episodes for his yelps of “Yuuup!” when bidding on storage units auctioned off based on one quick look at the forfeited contents.
But his suit claims he was wrongfully dropped from the cast after complaining about valuable items or memorabilia being being planted in some of those storage lockers, including an old newspaper announcing the death of Elvis Presley. Hester's attorney, Martin Singer, calls his client a “whistleblower,” and the suit alleges breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Proceedings on the suit will be delayed pending the outcome of the appeal, A&E's attorney Kelli Sager told Hetherman.