A&E Responds to ‘Storage Wars' Lawsuit

Network accuses former star of spinning ‘tabloid-worthy' drama
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A&E Television Networks has issued a response to a
lawsuit filed by former Storage Wars
star David Hester claiming the show is rigged, accusing him of trying to "convert
a garden-variety breach of contract claim into tabloid-worthy drama," the
network said in a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court cited in multiple
reports.

Hester filed a lawsuit in December that alleged that Storage Wars producer Original
Productions and A&E planted valuable items in the storage lockers featured
on the show for dramatic effect. He also claims he was fired for reporting the
alleged staging, which A&E refutes, saying it took action against Hester
first.

"After AETN complained about plaintiff's improper use
of AETN's trademarks, and concurrent with plaintiff's demand to renegotiate his
agreement to participate in the program, plaintiff suddenly raised 'concerns'
about the program's authenticity," the defendants said.

Hester claimed the network had committed fraud in violation
of the Communications Act of 1934, which protects against rigging in game
shows, but that statute "does not apply to cable television," A&E countered
in its filing.

Storage Wars is
one of A&E's most popular series; its last original episodes on Dec. 18 averaged
3.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen.

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