April Enterprises v. KTTV
April Enterprises was the personal corporation of ventriloquist, Paul Winchell, in 1965. Plaintiff contracted with the defendant Metromedia to appear in a television series called the Winchell-Mahoney Club. 288 color shows were produced between 1965 and 1968 in which Winchell performed with his dummies, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. In 1970, the defendant, who owned the tapes, threatened to erase the tapes of the shows unless plaintiff agreed to re-negotiate a contract to allow the shows to be broadcast over other Metromedia stations. Plaintiff refused to negotiate on those terms. In retaliation, defendant erased the tapes.We sued defendant asserting a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Although the defendant owned the tapes and had the contractual right to erase them six months after the last broadcast, we argued there was an implied covenant restricting the implementation of the erasure provision to a time when future syndication of the shows would not be feasible. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding $19 million in punitive damages. The verdict was affirmed on appeal.