The mother of Rob Kardashian’s toddler-aged daughter won a round in court Tuesday when a judge ruled that an E! Entertainment executive can be deposed regarding the cancellation of the second season of the former couple’s reality show, “Rob & Chyna.”
Over the objections of lawyers for E! Media Productions LLC, a non-party to Blac Chyna’s lawsuit, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Randolph Hammock said the plaintiff’s lawyers can question Frances Berwick for up to 2 1/2 hours at her New York office. Chyna maintains in her lawsuit filed in November 2017 that members of the Kardashian clan pressured E! to drop “Rob & Chyna” after one season by threatening to pull their longtime family show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” from the network.
“She has unique information and knowledge about this case,” the judge said.
E! attorney Rochelle Wilcox argued that Berwick did not have unique or personal knowledge about the cancellation of the show and that Berwick should not be required to testify under California’s apex deposition doctrine. The rule requires that a plaintiff seeking to depose a defendant corporation’s “apex” or uppermost executive must first show that the official possesses unique, relevant knowledge that cannot be obtained through other channels that are less intrusive.
Berwick is the president of the Lifestyle Networks of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. E! Entertainment is part of the Lifestyle Network group.
But Hammock said he was puzzled that E! was objecting so strongly to Berwick being deposed.
“It seems to me they had legitimate reasons to cancel the show,” the judge said, noting that Chyna obtained a restraining order against Rob Kardashian in July 2017.
“Maybe they could have “Rob and Chyna, Separated,” the judge said.
Chyna’s real name is Angela White. Her claims against Rob Kardashian, as well as Kim and Khloe Kardashian and Kris and Kylie Jenner, include defamation and interference with prospective economic advantage. Chyna’s suit alleges the four women falsely claimed she physically abused Rob Kardashian during their romantic relationship.
Chyna further maintains she suffered significant damages and that the scandal caused her reality show with her ex-boyfriend to be canceled by E! She alleges the network would have granted a second season of the show but for false statements made against her, including alleged comments by the four female defendants to E! representatives in late 2016 and early 2017 that Chyna physically abused Rob Kardashian.
Chyna, 31, and Rob Kardashian, 32, began dating in January 2016 and had a daughter, Dream, that November. They split a month later and she sued Kardashian, his mother and three of his sisters in October 2017.
In July 2017, he used social media to post pictures of Chyna’s naked breasts, backside and genitals. He also accused her of sleeping with another man in “the same bed Chyna and I made our baby in.” He later took down some of the photos.
On Thursday, the judge is scheduled to rule on whether Bunim-Murray Productions LLC, the producers of “Rob & Chyna,” must turn over to Chyna and her lawyers footage of the second season of the show that was shot, but never aired.
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